How would your students react if you didn't give them any parameters for a project and simply told them to “figure it out”? Is this asking for trouble by putting the kids in charge of the classroom or is it an exercise in critical thinking and collaboration?
In traditional classrooms, students are often given a very detailed rubric with instructions for completing a project. At the very least, teachers will include what components should be included while other teachers will give even more details about specific themes or examples they want included. What does this type of project really teach the students? Yes, they will learn to follow detailed instructions but is this format teaching them critical thinking or problem solving skills? Are future employers going to give such detailed instructions for work projects? Guaranteed, they will not.
My guest today is Marisa Thompson, an English teacher at Carlsbad High School in California. Marisa has 12+ years of experience and has taught every level, from remedial to AP English. She develops curricula on many vertical teams and is an online instructor and guest collaborator at several universities. Marisa has implemented “instructionless” lessons in her curriculum which the kids have embraced positively. While the parents may be harder to convince of these benefits, many often come around when they realize Marisa is grading based on SKILLS learned instead of focusing on tests and quizzes that require rote memory.