- there are a limited number of books, barely enough to distribute to each sophomore and hope that no one loses one - and there are always lost ones
- the books are from 1997 and while some topics (Europe) are covered in pretty good detail, others (Africa) are not covered well at all
- they weigh about 10 pounds
- we have had trouble getting the kids to do homework that is fairly simple in construct and asking them to do something that would require that amount of effort assures that no one will turn it in
But on the other hand, when they read things, they really struggle. Even my stronger students struggle with reading. Of my 130 students, maybe 8 regularly read for pleasure - and read something besides brainless teen fiction. So do I make them read more, which may make them so frustrated they give up entirely, or do I make them read less and find alternative ways for them to learn the information under the heading of "creative teaching?" Is it more important for them to read the information for themselves or to learn the information whatever way works best for them?
The purpose of assigning chapters to read would be to do more discussions. But the problem with discussions are that only the people who do the assignment can participate. This is a great motivator in college, but in high school, most kids do not WANT to participate in a discussion. We have had some success with socratic seminars this year, but I still cannot get ALL of my kids to participate in this. If I was to start doing this type of assignment, I would have 2-3 kids per class able to participate.
Which brings me back to one of the original points...am I underestimating these kids?
And something else to think about....and something I think about a LOT. Is the point of this class to teach skills or to pique an interest in history? This is, after all, just high school. Too much skills and the kids lose interest and motivation and I bore myself to tears. Too much storytime and I am not doing my job to teach them the skills they need for next year.
For now, I'm just rolling around ideas and questions. Your thoughts?