I have made a decision to focus on less in more depth this semester - something I usually think about at the end of a semester when I'm frantically trying to "cover" everything. This semester, though, I reread my Blog before I planned the semester, and realized that I really needed try doing more with less. So far I'm pleased with the way things are going. I eliminated several assignments this semester and haven't missed them - probably won't.
Today, I blocked out some time for students to work on anticipation guides or problems to use to engage students in topics. Students in the 2PM class worked on anticipation guides, and pretty much stayed focused on the task. I think they got a better understanding of anticipation guides, something they wouldn't have developed without today's workshop. But in the 3:30 class, there were 9 absences [this weekend is a non-game weekend and Monday is Fall Break - I should have seen this one coming] and students who did come to class seemed sort of distracted, unfocused. We were all tired, break was literally minutes away - and they didn't get as much done as in the earlier class. I hope the time was valuable to them. Maybe it was me - maybe I was too informal or unstructured. I'm planning to create some additional workshop time this semester, but kind of hesitate to do so if the time isn't well-spent. Maybe I need to provide more structure in the later section - do something like a Think-Pair-Share and have students provide responses to each other's drafts. That way, students could share and get feedback on their plans. I'll need to think about this - goodness knows I have enough new stuff to use with them, but I don't want to throw so much at them that they get overwhelmed.