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What’s the Point? Project 180, Day 74

The point of learning transcends grades. The point of learning is to build oneself. And this idea is at the core of the P-180 classroom. When I took grades off the table, I sought to drive home this point, forcing kids to take that first giant step into taking responsibility for their learning, for themselves. Yes, that is a lot of pressure, and quite possibly there are some students who are not prepared for such a burden, but it is a necessary step in their personal journey towards better, their personal journey towards best. And that takes courage, maturity, reflection, and introspection. But it also takes support. I cannot deliver them at their end, but I can support them along their way.

To varying degrees, kids will leave 211 at year’s end “knowing things.” They will know the difference between a gerund and a participle. They will know what parallel structures are. They will know how to integrate text evidence into their writing. They will know a lot of things. But of all they know and discover by year’s end, I hope they better know themselves. I hope they are more mature, more wise, more self-disciplined, more effective, and more productive, for if they are, then they will have grown; they will have learned. And that is the point.

We finish Night today.  We will have our final discussion before I provide performance opportunities to hold the kids accountable for their learning. But I am not holding them accountable by giving them a traditional, transactional test. I never wanted them to read the book to make a transaction with me at the end. I wanted them to read the book to make a connection with the world. Here is a brief look at the two opportunities.

  1. Holocaust Memory Project

    Goal: Create and present something that honors the memory of the Holocaust


    • Collaborate in self-selected teams of 2, 3, or 4. No exceptions.
    • Each class will collaborate to determine general requirements and quality indicators.
    • Each team will develop quality targets/criteria for self-assessment.
    • I will provide 4 days of class time for your creation.
    • I will serve as a consultant and facilitator only. The rest is up to you.
    • You will present your creation during semester finals
    • Your peers will judge your creations.
  2. Night Final: On-Demand Write

    Prompt: Elie Wiesel wrote Night so the world would not forget the Holocaust. He did not want “his past to become [our] future.” To that end, he wanted his memoir to have an impact on a modern audience.

    As a member of this “modern audience,” select a specific scene that had a significant impact on you. In an essay, present a brief summary of the scene and a thorough discussion of the scene’s impact. In your discussion, include at least two pieces of quoted text evidence to support your thinking.  

No, I am not testing their knowledge of dates, places, names, etc. I am not trying to “catch” those who didn’t read. I am trying to give them a greater purpose for their learning. I want them to connect. Transactions expire, often as soon as the lesson, test, and/or unit are over. Connections endure. To know things is great. To know oneself is greater. I prefer and push the latter. It’s the 180 difference.

Happy Wednesday, all.

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