Those lucky teachers who get to set kids loose in their native language to follow their passions generally require kids to pick their driving questions before they begin their research. As I've posted before, our process in the L2 is inherently different. Kiddos need to absorb what's possible in their second language before they try to cure cancer using infographs and websites para niños. The question is: what can they find that's at their level, and THEN what can they do with it?
I wasn't sure exactly how to go about getting to the driving question most effectively: summarize their sources first? throw a bunch of possible questions out there? pick a question and find more sources? group the sources into subcategories?
The only possible solution was to try it myself.
I went back to my own Diigo list in Portuguese (by the way, not happy about losing the free list feature, though I can mostly work around it with well-placed tags). I started opening up links and seeing what I had. Some I had already done some highlighting and paraphrasing, as my little geniuses had last year with their previous topics. Between snow days stealing precious passion time and my resolution to pick up the pace and get to Intermediate ASAP, I decided I want to skip to the top-down, main idea processing, and I wanted to do it with questions.
So I opened up three sources I hadn't previously paraphrased to see if I could do it (ok, I tried it with some paraphrased ones, too, but I didn't peek until after). It took me about 30 minutes to form 3 questions for 3 different sources, including digging up my old vocabulary Google Doc (though the young ones have theirs in convenient webmap form in their interactive notebooks, lucky ducks) as well as constantly pasting my questions into Google Translate to tweak. I discovered by the third article, though, that I could reuse some questions that overlapped articles--which was a good sign for narrowing down my topic to a single driving question!
Projeto 20%: Perguntas: Artesanato e reciclagem on Pinterest | 144 Pins Como posso decorar com materiais reciclados? Como posso fazer moda com materiais rec...In addition to the questions, though, I made sure to add tags. Tags equal extra main idea distillation, but I also figure they'll come in handy when it comes time to decide on a question to dig into. You can see my Portuguese blog post above, but the questions came down to mostly these five (remember, I'm a novice: be gentle):
- Como posso decorar com materiais reciclados?
- Como posso fazer moda com materiais reciclados?
- Quais materiais posso reciclar?
- Que posso fazer com diferentes materiais reciclados?
- Como posso fazer arte com diferentes materiais reciclados?
Also, I came up with these tags: decoração moda materiais arte
Now, I'm not going to have my angels narrow down their driving questions this week, but rather blog about it separately next week--30 minutes teacher time generally equals up to a full genius Hour in student time, right? BUT, keeping in mind that I'm aiming to tie passion projects into an IPA-ish final exam, I want to go ahead map out how I can demonstrate all 3 modes at least at the Novice High level--if not Intermediate--by semester's end while I formulate my question as well.
And so, looking at my own questions and tags, I can narrow my focus to different materials and how they can be used, decoration projects, or fashion projects. Now last year, I demonstrated how to make "plarn" out of plastic bags, which required a wee bit of interpretive reading, but mostly presentational speaking and writing. This year, I need something that will involve some listening as well and a way to engage my audience in spontaneous conversation, so looking at my choices for topics, I think I might have the best chance of engaging even the guys (who don't speak Portuguese either, but oh well) if I get them talking about even the materials in their houses. Being able to give directions--and ask for them back--is still a handy Novice High skill, so I might incorporate another how-to somehow.
So, in the name of backward design, I had to go ahead and work on my next Portuguese blog post, wherein basically I figured out my main question and specific topics for each of the five sub-modes.
Now, I'm thinking the interpretation will have to take place before final exam day, and to ensure it's spontaneous, I'll use the kiddos' tags and question to find a new video AND a new article or infograph (small classes this semester: I think I can, I think I can). So all they'll have to do the day OF is talk with their audience and show off what they've written. The key then for each genius will be figuring out what they can work into their conversation and what kind of resources they're likely to find--much as we've been doing with their personalized homework this semester!
And tying it together with one Good Question, of course.