Monday through Friday beginning on May 30th, I teach 6th – 8th graders in Texas, history via zoom. Most of the students I am teaching this summer I also had the privilege of teaching last summer. Because of this it’s great to see the positive difference that Pre-Texts has made in their ability to learn, interact with myself and peers and engage in the material and subject matter. The class is split into six sessions with each session taking place over two weeks.
I am using the text, A Little History of the World to teach the class. This week I introduced pre-text to the students and the first few days took some adjusting to, but by Wednesday, Thursday, Friday the students were actively introducing their own activities and really began to grasp the pre-text mission. We experimented with a few activities including read alouds; and tangents / leafs. Each day a different student led the class with their understanding of the chapter of the text and an activity of their choice.
I was really impressed and proud of the students in their ability to adapt to and readily accept the new method of learning. They are doing phenomenal in terms of engagement and ability to recall content. On top of that they are actively doing outside research for their activities and excited to talk about their tangents and the topic.
This week brought with it a transition from the first session to the second. Last year, each session had roughly the same number of students in it and the students fluctuated quite a bit in terms of having many new students each session. I anticipated this being the case for this year as well, but I was very surprised to find that nearly all the students from session 1 remained for session 2 and we got five new students because of how much raving the current students were doing about the class.
This week at the end of the week I invited parents to come and observe their students leading the discussions and activities. They were so impressed with the progress their students have made not only academically but also socially. Many mentioned that their child never talked in class (in a traditional class that is) and would always come home from school burnt out and wanting nothing to do with homework or talking about the material, but during this class, it’s all they talk about at home… designing activities, planning tangents and leafs and being genuinely excited about the next class and the material.