Friday, March 8, 2013

Self-Directed Learning in Senior English Elective

For the last part of the senior year in Hot Topics, the Frisch twelfth-grade English elective course, students are completing a self-designed project. Here are the questions they answered recently about their choice of topic:

Setting up the Project

1) What do you want to learn or produce?

2) How will you go about learning or creating your project?

3) Are you going to work alone or with someone?

4) How much time do you think your learning process or project will take?

5) What will the presentation of your learning or project be?

At the end of each period, students describe what they accomplished over the course of the period. Sometimes they share aloud, sometimes in posts to the class GoogleDoc about the project, and sometimes in an app. Here are some written responses:

Sample Student Projects

J.A.'s topic is extreme sports:

Today we researched the topic extreme sports. We have discovered new and exciting extreme sports, such as Snowscootering, sand boarding, and even kayak jumping. Each of these sports requires courage and the willpower to overcome the fear of death. Our presentation will include many of these death-defying sports that will blow your mind.

O.B. is working on a presentation about exercise:

It is important to exercise because being active will prevent your muscles from becoming weak and flabby, your heart and lungs from not working effectively, and your joints from becoming stiff and prone to injury. Exercising reduces the chances of getting high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, & other diseases. Exercise also helps improves stamina by training your body to be more efficient and use less energy to do the same amount of work as you did previously. Using weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones, and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Stretching exercises are important for good posture, which will keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach, and twist. Improving your flexibility will reduce the chance of injury and improve balance and coordination. Exercise is important for weight loss as well. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Exercises will also improve the quality of your life, because it helps you reduce stress, lift moods, and sleep better. Exercise will keep you looking younger and healthier throughout your life.

Three students are working on a project about drugs. Here's R.A. on his portion of the project:

My segment of the lesson on different kinds of drugs will be devoted to “hallucinogens,” “entheogens,” in other words, the “psychedelic” side of drugs. These drugs are known to create hallucinations or visions that are not real or can never be possible. Some of these drugs include LSD or “acid,” psilocybin mushrooms, Spice, and JWH018. First I would like to talk about the names of the category. For example, entheogen means literally: “creating divine within.” These drugs are often used in religious practices in order to experience prophecies and to get closer to the deity. Other times these drugs are used recreationally or to treat depression.

Apps in Self-Directed Learning

This past week students used Educreation to record their progress on their projects:

These students are gathering images about their topics and
then narrating how their projects are progressing.