The first was due last week. I wasn't sure what to expect. While my students' ability to write about their lives in their journals has been steady, I was worried asking them to reflect on their work in such a focused manner might give them problems.
Turned out my worries were misplaced. Julia writes:
From the explanation of this project as a whole, it seems unbearable. Completely impossible. My expectations were that there was no way I could do it. When I first looked it over, I didn’t even know how or where to begin. At this point in time though, I’m pleased with the progress I’m making on this project.
She goes on to make certain her audience doesn't confuse her progress with ease. Still, it was her last three sentences that got me:
I think the obstacles are there, but not impossible. Mostly, I think that as a 10th grade English class, we are doing something different and amazing. That’s the most satisfying progress so far.
She's excited about learning. While not every student is putting his or her excitement in quite the same form, something different is going on. Over the last few classes, I've answered questions about finding better sources, better change agents, writing letters, correctly formatting direct quotes...I mean a 10th grade student to asked how to set up a direct quote.
Sometimes, things go ok.