5 thoughts on “More Extensive than I Imagined…

  1. Hi Lexie,

    Very nicely done. In addition to a strong visual design, your plan features solid pedagogy.

    Some things I thought about while reading through your plan:

    You have nice reflection and discussion questions, but I thought there are even more challenging questions you might ask of your students. Your questions are good, and there are also more contentious questions that might add quite a bit of energy to your discussions if you can structure your discussion parameters in a way where people feel safe addressing them.

    Secondly, I thought the last unit on traditional foods presents a great opportunity for students to create videos of their preparation and to share. They could film a family member, and elder, or themselves preparing something and responding to a series of prompts or including a series of elements: Why is the dish important, when is it prepared, how is it prepared, the opinions of a few consumers, what are stories related to this dish…and so on.

    Food is such a great community builder and sharing recipes and preparation techniques always makes for rich sharing opportunities.

    You could also have students demonstrate their understanding of Lummi place names by going to various places, taking a picture of themselves there and posting the picture as well as the name and history of the name.

    You have a very strong start but adding a few of these types of “frosting” activities might make the experience a bit more engaging. You have such a rich topic. Consider also your feedback and revision cycles. Are there places where you could strengthen your learning outcomes by pushing students a bit harder, and helping them to achieve more with some formative feedback?

    Lastly, for your next iteration, please build this out on your blog site and share the link.

    Nice work!

  2. Hey Lexie, this is looking great. Very interesting passion project. I had a few thought/suggestions as I read through your unit.

    If one of your lesson outcomes is reciting the Lummi Creation story, you might consider requiring this as part of the assessment from lesson 1. Is reciting the Lummi Creation story an important skill you want students to achieve? Or is it a recognition that traditional stories tell us much about the culture and values of a group? If the latter, you may consider changing that first objective.

    In lesson 2, you may consider asking students to discuss the location significance of traditional village sites as a part of the writing assignment, as this was identified as one of the lesson outcomes. Your discussion prompts should work well at teasing these details out of students engaged in conversation.

    For the writing assignment in activity 3, consider offering prompts that will direct students toward the learning outcomes defined. Your rubric will likely grade based on identifying and explaining the use of 5 plants and 3 fishing method. I would spell this expectation out in the writing prompt.

    Lastly, I like the inclusion of active, hands-on learning experiences such as the cooking workshop. Are there any other Lummi events in which students could become involved? A traditional storytelling event, dance, demonstration of how to make fishing nets, prepare salmon, store meats and plants for winter, etc would add a great deal of experiential learning to the process. If these aren’t available, you could consider organizing and hosting a potluck, where students could prepare and showcase traditional foods from their culture. My group of hunting/fishing partners just had our first “Taste of Alaska” gathering last Saturday. We all prepared 2-3 dishes that featured Alaska game/fish/plants and shared them with the group. We exchanged recipes and different ways of preparing our food. Like Owen mentioned, food is a great community builder. Organizing something similar for your students could demonstrate great pride in traditional gathering/preparation techniques. Awareness and pride in identity seems to be one of the core issues of this unit.

    Overall, your unit is succinct and flows smoothly toward a culminating project. Nice work!

  3. Wow – first impression is that this *looks* wonderful. Design-wise, I mean. Very good font choices, bolding, colors, etc. It’s very easy to follow along with and read. That’s a very important aspect of online course design that I feel is often overlooked or undervalued.

    I love that your course has so much multimedia built into it. Given our readings this week I really think that (and this is hard to say as an English teacher) reading is slowly becoming more and more obsolete and we’re hearkening back to an age of listening and watching and I find that all very exciting. Do these videos already exist and are uploaded to YouTube or some other place? Do those Prezis exist and are already uploaded to Prezi? I assume not because you did not link to them. If so, it is going to be quite a bit of work to get them uploaded and ready to go.

    Multimedia is such a great opportunity to help remedy some of the things that Owen talked about – student interaction. I know we don’t normally think of the YouTube (or whatever) comments section as having productive comments but for an online class if you’re controlling comment availability it can be a good way to dialogue, by having students interact with the video via comments, they can interact with each other, also. There doesn’t even really need to be a “point” to it – often online dialogues support themselves.

    The big issue I see here is that your objectives are typically not measurable, that is, there is no degree to which you are expecting students to meet the objectives. In lesson two your objectives have a degree but many others do not. This is problematic obviously since it makes assessment difficult. Here’s a few:

    “Name traditional Lummi names on a map of the original territory of the Lummi people.” (how many names?)

    “Describe the meaning of these Lummi names.” (describe how, to what extent?)

    “Identify inherent rights in connection to traditional Coast Salish society.” (how many rights, how in depth, what connections?)

    “Examine their own family lineage as it relates to inherent rights.” (how far back, how in depth, how many right?)

    With these you could get a wide range of answer quality and they might not all be at the upper end…I can see students misunderstanding and doing far lower quality work than you expected. Then they’d point to the objectives and say “well…”

    There are two ways to overcome this that I know which are easy: one is with highly specific objectives and instructions, giving students less freedom but a stronger idea of what you’re looking for so that they know which path to take in their work. The other is by crafting excellent rubrics. I think that’s the path you should go because if you make rubrics that are good enough, you can leave your objectives really broad and give students freedom, while still using the rubrics to show that you have high expectations.

    In all I think your unit looks like a very deep learning exercise. The whole unit is short on paper but there’s a LOT going on here and there’s a lot for students to learn and engage with – I think it’s an excellent way to really get students involved with thinking about and participating in their own culture in the context of a course. I agree that it could use some more student interaction, even if it’s just collaborative assignments, but all in all I think this is looking pretty good!

  4. My favorite part of this superbly well organized and displayed unit were the lesson introductions. They were spot on to set the stage for everything that followed. Not to short, not to long. Each sentence conveyed meaning and contributed. I also loved how they are tying everything they are learning back to themselves the personal meaning they are being asked to make of each lesson.

    And bad on me for being the last to chime in! I’ve read through everyone else’s suggestions now and there were a lot of good ones. As I read through I was thinking that the assignments, thought reflective in nature, were all going to appeal to one type of learner, someone who showcases their work well in writing. I think the rest of the group has already offered up some great suggestions for mixing things up a bit. I agree, not only because I think it will add interest and be more engaging, but also because I think it will provide an opportunity for students whose forte is not written communication to demonstrate mastery of the topic. I think offering some choice on format offers more students an opportunity to really show you what they are learning.

    The only other thing I would offer is that it might be good to incorporate a gradual building of the final project with opportunities for feedback throughout each lesson. Maybe they would be creating a piece of it for each lesson rather than having to come up with one giant project at the end.

    I am really looking forward to seeing the final and wish I could listen to some of the stories and videos.

Leave a Reply