Switching it Up

Due to scheduling conflicts over the past couple of weeks, Eli and I have not been able to meet. Instead I have been reciting the alphabet on my own as well as attempting to memorize the words he has taught me. Today, we were able to meet for the first time since before spring break. We, like every other lesson, went over the alphabet, but instead of showing three weeks’ worth of practice, my phonetics had actually gotten worse. Somehow all of the practice I did at home and in my free time over the past weeks didn’t show.This both confused and frustrated me.

I have to admit, even I’m getting bored with my Independent Learning Project blogs. Although attention to detail is crucial in learning a new language, it isn’t necessarily blog-worthy. I felt myself getting bored with the same lessons and repetitive blogs, so I asked Eli if we could switch it up a bit this week. First after going through the alphabet normally, I practiced how letters sound in words rather than just how they sound in the alphabet. Exiting right? Just wait, it gets better. After completing the alphabet, we went on a walk around campus while practicing words, phrases, and complete sentences.

This week’s lesson made me ponder two things. (1) In order to completely master a skill, not only is constant practice necessary but also attention to detail. My coaches always say they would rather players practice a skill slower while making sure it is done correctly than sloppily at full speed. This also applies to my Spanish-speaking endeavors. Instead of just practicing as much as possible, I need to make sure to practice well. (2) Students have more fun when they aren’t doing the same activities during every lesson. Every lesson Eli and I have had appealed especially to auditory learners because we were speaking and listening throughout. Later, we advanced to writing words and phrases which I (a visual learner) appreciated. Although I’m not a kinesthetic learner, today’s lesson has been my favorite. I loved getting to move around while still being productive. Most of all, I loved that it was different.

This got me thinking about my future classroom. In my high school English class, we did the same thing every day for years. While I didn’t mind, I’m sure some of my other classmates couldn’t help but be bored out of their minds. As teachers, we must remember to not only teach the method that is easiest or how we were taught but switch up our lessons to effectively teach the entire class.

Let’s Get Active

Before this week’s module, I had never heard of the term “digital activism.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise because, as I have stated many times, I’m not great with technology. However, after learning the basics of it, I did wonder if it had the same effect as non-digital or physical activism. While some nickname the phenomenon “slacktivism”, it is a great way for kids to find issues they are passionate about and get involved. Digital activism isn’t just posting your opinions. It is signing e-petitions, donating, reaching out to those in need, being a positive influence to your followers, etc. What is social media if not a place to share ideas?

I have never participated in digital activism, but as a teacher, I find the significance in it. Many have discussed the value of teaching kindness, and this is a great way to do so. Digital activism is also much safer than more traditional forms of activism. Students wouldn’t put themselves in any type of physical danger, and they can also post their opinions anonymously.

After researching some active teens, I was especially interested in Gabby Frost’s Buddy Project. A major problem in today’s teenage society is mental health. Many social media accounts have been created to encourage kindness and positivity, but Gabby Frost takes it a step further. With her Buddy Project, she pairs people with similar interests and of similar age. She is also working on creating an app to make the whole experience more convenient for herself and those who use the Buddy Project. The program also acts as a charity and sells t shirts and other merchandise to give profits to mental health organizations.  What a great influence for my students! Gabby, online sixteen, has already helped so many people feel loved and helped them make a friend as well as making money for the cause she is passionate about. Not to mention, she does the majority of the work all on her own with just a little help from close family. While Gabby’s has been very successful, I do not expect my students to all create substantial organizations like she has. Many of them may not know what issues might interest them, and many of them won’t have time to be as involved, but Gabby is a great role model for them to learn from.

My only concern, similar to digital citizenship, is how I can fit digital activism into my lesson plans. After teaching my students the content of my lesson while incorporating digital literacy, how will I find the time to teach my students about digital activism?