I don't know about you, but I'm running on fumes about now.
Between the compliance stuff for the new teacher evaluation system (including the fetishization of the lesson plans which I covered a while back), the Common Core implementation (which has been going less than swimmingly), the MOSL tests and grading, the Regents classes I have had this year and just the overall "gotcha" zeitgeist from the Regents, the SED, the DOE and the media and politicians, I'm running on empty as the old song goes.
After the 12+ argumentative essay assignments each class has done since September, the close reading exercises, the complex test and informational text practice and all the other so-called "college and career readiness" reforms we've done throughout the year, I decided to hand out a creative assignment to the 11th graders who passed the Regents in January.
The assignment was this:
In preparation for next year's college essay assignment, produce a piece of writing about your own life, about some of the struggles you have had growing up and how you have learned to deal with them. You can write this piece any way you choose - as a first person narrative, as a third person narrative, as a first person essay, even, if you choose, in poetry form (though clear with me the guidelines for that.) The only requirement for the task is that you focus on something of value that you have learned through struggle, some nugget of wisdom you have learned through experience.
I'm thinking of this as the anti-David Coleman assignment, the kind of thing where I do give a shit what the students think and feel, what they have learned not through reading but through living.
I'm looking forward to reading what students come up with.