Monday, December 05, 2005

So, How'd It Go? PowerPoint Update

It went very well. Just about every group did a much better job of organizing and presenting the information this time: people had defined roles; speakers spoke to the class instead of the screen; everyone grasped the idea of ppt. as a outlining tool and not a sheet of paper waiting to be filled with words; and they were all relaxed and content.

Yes, it went well. Why?

It was the second presentation.

It was a much more structured activity than the first.

They had plenty of prewriting assignments to pull from.

They were writing from experience.

I was pleased to see that they pulled together as teams: working together on the ppt.; discussing which items to use in each category; sending each other drafts via email outside of class; and arranging to meet each other outside of class.

The grades were largely C's, with a few B's and even fewer A's. In the few cases where a person was left in the lurch by a partner who didn't even bother to contact her, I gave separate grades so as not to penalize the one who did do the job, alone.

So, if the grades were C's, then why am I so happy? Remember that this is the first level of Basic Writing, and that for many of the students, adjusting to being a responsible student has been the biggest accomplishment that they've made this semester. In order to earn the C, each student has had to focus, write, collaborate, edit and finalize a project as well as make sure that it was presented in a lively and instructive way. Again, doing all of this and not frittering away the time allocated to group work is a big maturing point for many of my students, who begin the semester wanting to be told exactly what to write and think every step of the way.

I'm proud of them.


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