123 Prufrock Way
San Diego, CA 90255
October 26, 2012
My Seniors, Dystopian Literature
Plymouth South High School
490 Long Pond Rd.
Plymouth, MA 02360
Yesterday could have gone better. I take a good chunk of responsibility for not making the process and my expectations more transparent. If I could go back, I would have made it clear I was recording my lecture to you, and we would have watched my example screencast as a class. These two steps alone would have cleared up many of the questions you had. With that said, my goals were larger than the class period itself. This letter will hopefully explain them and ask for your feedback.
One of my most important goals as a teacher is to marry the medium and the purpose. When you think of the writing process in general, its purpose is to help you craft a composed and articulate paper. The purpose of an outline is for you to organize your thoughts in a linear narrative and justify why you’ve chosen these parts. To this end, a paper outline and a person-to-person conference can be unproductive due to student preparation, shallow thought given to quotations, and value of peer feedback. Tackling the aspect most likely to affect the paper, I wanted to use a screencast as the medium to target the quotations of the outline. Verbally articulating your analysis (and having the ability to play it back later) puts your reasoning on the spot, for better or worse. Similar to the purpose behind EdCafes, if you can speak clearly about your topic, you can write clearly about it.
In the room, we have various levels of ‘iPad literacy.’ You’ll always be better or worse than someone when using a particular tool. However, for any new process/tool/app, you will need to persist in the face of frustration, teach yourself and learn from others, and troubleshoot in order to achieve a goal. Yes, and sometimes you’ll have unreasonable time demands, set either by others or yourself.
With my purposes hopefully more clear, I’m interested in hearing your constructive feedback about the day. I realize you needed more time, so expand on it if you want, but dig deeper into what other suggestions you have for next time. Also, please share with me how you deal with stress. And, what I can do to pre-empt your stress / struggle so it’s productive (yes, I believe in productive struggle). I value your feedback and think you’re great.