Three weeks after finishing teaching this class, I am confident in saying that it was the hardest class I ever taught. I honestly thought the hardest class I ever taught was a credit recovery class mixed with students who had been removed from their classes because of disruptive behaviour and students on in-school suspension. In this class, I dealt with a student who pulled out a beer in the middle of class or another student who was so high and shouting a string of curse words that I didn't even know existed! I dealt with uncountable discussions of rolling blunts and fights on Saturday nights.
|Nothing quite like |
having a leftover
beer in her backpack.
Dealing with those issues seem a breeze when trying to engage the disengaged. I understand that many people think Canadian history is boring...but I am trying to make it engaging and interesting.
The first couple of weeks were rough because the class was so quiet. The quiet was uncomfortable. It wasn't just quiet when I attempted discussion, the classroom was quiet even when working in small groups or when classrooms shouldn't be quiet...when the teacher is trying to get the technology to work or in the last five minutes of class when waiting for the lunch bell. I realize now that the quiet was probably the result of boring discussion questions and boring tasks.
Another history teacher, Erin (@erinharrison20) and I discussed our issues, because, while her class was the opposite of quiet, both of us had difficulty with engagement. Erin came up with a great inquiry-based task for the unit looking at the creation of model society via Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau and Quebec. Students were in groups to research one of the topics with the question "What is the ideal society for Canada?" Students needed to create a way to share their learning with the other groups. The culmination of this inquiry was the creation of a podcast, which was my favourite assignment. It was developed by Lisa Unger (@l_unger) and James Bryson.
Now the hard work begins...how can I create engaging inquiry questions so the students want to learn about Canadian history?