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Showing posts from July, 2019

How and Why I Try to Bring Democracy to the Classroom

I was frustrated.

It had been a frustrating day in a frustrating week and I was having difficulty figuring out what to do next. I was at my wit's end.

This particular class had kept me on my toes all year long. Some of them loved choice; they wanted to be able to tailor their learning to their own interests. Others, though, needed very clear parameters. They required assignments with clear beginnings and clear end-points. Meeting the needs of both groups was not an easy needle to thread.

Finally, though, I thought I had figured out how to do it. I had decided to present the material in a "democratic" fashion. Instead of me planning out all of the individual lessons ahead of time, we spent time at the start of the unit talking as a class about what we knew already, and deciding what we wanted to know more about. I decided to follow this up with a menu of activities the students could complete. This was what I was presenting on the day the students decided to test my pati…