Thursday, October 17, 2013

#FailForward: Learning From The Russian Revolution Unit

I’ve already written about the unit structure for my Russian Revolution unit. It was my next step towards trying to create the most student-centered history classroom that I can. The unit happened. And it’s done. What were the takeaways? Two big ones, in no particular order…

While the crowd-sourcing activity was cool - and a neat way for students to build schema about a unit - it wasn’t enough schema. My students didn’t have enough knowledge of the Russian Revolution unit when they went out and chose their inquiry topics for the unit. Some ended up choosing questions they were really interested in. Other students ended up with questions they weren’t really interested in and floundered as they went further into their research. This was my fault - live and learn. For the World War II unit, my students will have more schema before they go out and do their own inquiry.

Secondly, and students pointed this out as the unit wound down, some felt like the need for an inquiry question took away from their ability to go out and get a broad view of the unit. They felt like they didn’t really understand the broader progression of the Russian Revolution unit until they got to watch their fellow students present on their aspect of the Russian Revolution.

Again, my bad. It is rewarding, though, to get to own these mistakes with my students publicly in class after the unit ended. I think that as you try new things in the classroom, it is so important to model your learning from these experiences with your students. It was gratifying to get to name those mistakes and explain how the next unit would be different.  #FailForward, right?