Final Assignment Preparation (A Short Story) - Day Twenty-Two and Twenty-Four Online

A wooden acupuncture tool for the hand.

We made it to the final task (but I've been too overwhelmed with work all this time to write about it). The last five lessons of the term were a mix of methods for preparing students to share their writing with the world in different ways.

For lesson twenty-two, we began to prepare for the "Reading and Review" presentation by discussing how to select specific content from the critical essay and pairing that with an excerpt of the final story. Then in lesson twenty-four, we focused on how to more formally convey information through developing presentation skills; looking at more practical forms to bring clarity during the analysis and then making it lively and animated for more interesting storytelling. Since these were similar in content and part of the same assignment, we'll combine those classes for another story inspired by what the students did in class. (Based on true events, but completely made up. And, for fun, I've decided to play around with different POV and tenses, so this one is in third person future tense.)

The events:
1. Roll call - 'I spy' and share which sense you would give up.
2. Task - Practice sharing ideas with partners to prepare for final presentation assignment.
3. Exercise - Use the short stories to practice finding the areas you wish to improve and sharing thoughts with others in a comfortably formal way.

The story:
They will look around the room as soon as the teacher tells them that their role call will be a game of 'I spy'. The teacher expects the students to roll their eyes at the idea of playing a children's game, but instead most will wonder exactly what she means. When she explains, each will consider how to make their item interesting and fun, but also possible to guess. Then they will all get stuck on one mystery item and the teacher will not make it easy as she stands there in silence to force the class to contribute. That student who picks the W-A-T (wooden acupuncture tool) will kick themselves the rest of the class for causing that awkward moment.

After they finish that first task, it will be time for congratulations, which will be well earned. They will, hopefully, all have submitted their final essays on time. But it won't be time to relax, as the new assignment rubric will be shared on the screen. An assignment like no other in this class, but one they will have prepared for the whole time as they discussed ideas and shared their thoughts about every concept and story they studied so far.

The content will be easy to prepare, since it will only require a selection of previous work. In fact, the teacher will have the students practice this by asking them to select an example of editing from their first assignment and even share their thoughts about it with other students to informally practice this type of exchange, while helping them realise the limit of the time allocation. They will come to discover that five to six minutes will fly by when they are passionate about the topic they share, since they will get cut off mid-point to be thrown back into the main classroom for the teacher's closing comments. And this presentation time must be shared between the storytelling and the analysis!

Then the next week - after forcing them all to think over an impossible question and finding that very few of the class would be comfortable with losing their sense of sight - the teacher will concentrate on how to conduct each section of the Reading and Review task. She will even present an example using aspects of her own writing. She will change position and alter her voice to display various methods of differentiating the dialogue in the reading as she switches to from the male character to the female. Then she will exaggerate the moments where she waves her arm, claps her hands or arches her eyebrows to bring focus to the reasons for changing certain vocabulary words with the theme of missed opportunities in mind. Of course she will make it clear that this vibrancy of actions isn't expected of every student, but in their own way they should consider how to emphasis and engage.

Again, they will be given time to try all this out with a friend. Some will take full advantage of this, drinking in all the remarks and suggestions offered from their classmate after their practice. Others will use the time to prepare their content, in complete silence (microphones muted), fine with winging the gestures and intonation when they face the full class.

Then the only thing left to do will be to wait for their allotted moment to share with the class about what they have each been doing over the last couple of weeks, and get graded for explaining it well.