|Our criteria for a perfect society.|
|Full on image of the value line.|
It was a failure. Students didn't have adequate research skills to truly understand the various topics, and I think they just placated me by writing down their topics on their value lines. The students' final projects were terrible, to be blunt.
This semester, I decided to take a different approach. We still brainstormed a list of criteria that was necessary for a perfect society. Instead of students having their own value lines, we created a class value line along one wall in the classroom. After learning about new topics, we discussed where each topic belonged on the value line. To help students understand the chronology of the unit, the topics were categorized by prime minister, with the exception of Joe Clark (sorry Mr. Clark).
|Notice the pink lined up with the green.|
The FLQ Crisis was moved up on the value line.
Additionally, not all students agreed the placement of certain topics, and in their final paragraphs, they are able to move topics to others location along the value line.
|Notice the pink in the sea of purple. |
The Korean War was moved up.
Another bonus to the value line is that it makes a counterargument much more visible, as one of my colleagues pointed out. Some of the students wanted their thesis to be "Canada became a perfect society during this time period." All I had to do was point to the value line, and remind them of the topics in -1 and -2. This visual helped them to rewrite their thesis so that it was accurate. I was able to add a layer to the assignment by having students address a counter argument since it was so visible to them.
We are still in the initial stages of writing our final paragraphs, but from their rough copies, students have selected good examples in support of their arguments, as well as a solid example to support their counter argument. I've had to give some explicit feedback around the explanation, as the students are not clearly explaining how their selected topics have moved Canada towards a perfect society or away from one.
Overall, I think this has been my best job in teaching this very long unit, and soon I'll find out how well the students learned.