This was my first forray in blogging for my school’s Media and Technology blog. It was a reflection from a recent lesson that I taught in health that was really fun for my students!
Sex, Relationships, and Body Changes, OH MY!
I drew from a somewhat interesting activity from the 8th grade curriculum, “Thinking About Abstinence” in which students pretend to be a radio talk show host who provides advice for teens and they write responses to the simulated questions. In the past, its been an ok activity where a few students felt enthusiastic, but in the end the responses go into the recycling bin. So, after some inspiring training on Blogging yesterday, presented by Tara and Forrest, I decided to try a different approach.
As students entered, I allowed them to choose their groups of 4 (always best to let them choose when dealing with sensitive material…). I had the dinosaur desktop, school laptop, my own laptop, and my iPod Touch ready to go with the website I created. Students read through the write-in questions, as if they were e-mails, and, as a group, generated responses.
Later, my 6th grade students read through the 8th graders responses and voted on the ones that they thought were best. Then, in groups, using my resources and their own iPhones!, they came up with questions about teen issues that they would like for the 8th graders to discuss. The 8th grade groups that have the most votes will actually record their responses to the real 6th grade questions! I am thinking they could either just do straight podcasts or even a Voki.
The entire process of creating this lesson took maybe one hour, and that includes creating the website, creating the forms with questions, and trouble-shooting the issue of embedding a form in a website (thanks Forrest!). It was really easy and fun. The worst part was when the students were all engaged and talking with each other and I was bored! Luckily, it gave me time to overhear conversations about whether or not their response was too mean, if their sentences made sense, and even some spell checking! I also could not get over how seriously they took this assignment. Even though I explained to some groups that this was not real, I still had students saying that they wanted to meet the students who wrote in! It reminded me of a recent TED Talk that I watched about robots and how people get really attached to robots!