About


The summer would seem to pose an interesting dilemma, but fortunately most of my students were in my class during the school year and had already completed a book study.


How I ran mine


Prep Work

It all started early in the Spring, I followed the same pattern as before. I discussed ideas with other teachers in my district to see what books we had on hand, which books did the students already read, were any books built into someone's curriculum plans in a higher grade level, along with other questions that popped up along the way. Building level emails turned into district level emails between social studies and English departments.

My Internet research was much more intense, there are exponentially more resources for Night by Elie Wiesel than for The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, no offense meant towards Mr. Sinclair.

I looked at study guides, tests, projects, DBQ's, book reports, and student help sites. There wwas way too much information to process, but that fact alon ehelped steer my thinking. I would focus on even more student-centered/individualized answers to projects. Even if students were to Google the book, they would have to related that information to their own personal life situations and do more research...it actually seemed easier for them to just read the book than to Google.


Rolling out the Project to Students.

The plan was rolled out on our Step Up Day. What is Step Up Day you ask, it is a day set aside for students to check out their teachers and schedules for the upcoming school year. I set up an entirely new Edmodo Group, combining both of my Honors Classes into one group to allow for ease of collaboration.

Once it is up and running.

I posted updates and reminders in Edmodo. I did have students ask questions through Edmodo messages and via email throughout the summer. I let students know it could take up to 24 hours for a response depending on what was going on.

Drawbacks


Some students did not complete it.

Lessons Learned


First and foremost, I need to make a mandatory that they join the Edmodo group before they leave my class on Step Up Day. Some of my students did not join until late in the Summer, which lead to issues and procrastination.

I need to set up check ins throughout the Summer, just to have students post updates on their progress or lack thereof, ask questions at set times, tasks such as these just to keep contact with them.

Tips


Encourage COLLABORATION!

Students can meet up...
-----at the local public library.
-----at the mall.
-----at a local coffee shop
-----via Facetime
-----via Google Hangouts

Set the students up for success by encouraging them to seek each others opinons.

Keep the work general and focused on individual students. This makes copying answers not very important and takes away a motivation for cheatin...I mean inappropriate collaboration/copying.

Looking to the Future


I am not sure how I will approach this upcoming summer book study, I am thinking of switching schedules for a lesson or two with my good friend and colleague Bryan Pasquale; he has all of the current Freshmen US History and Government I students. He runs many similar projects with his students, so they will have a general understanding of how to complete the necessary tasks for a book study.

We have discussed switching a few periods of students for mini-units. I can introduce blogs to the students who will be moving up to my Honors US II class next year, that is the one specific tool they will not be exposed to this year.


Links to Student Projects


You can access the Summer of 2016 Student Projects here.

Other Links


You can access the public page to the TRETC 2016 Edmodo Group here.

You can access Eduwikius here for more educational resources.