Tag Archives: peers

Decisions–Action or Apathy

We must constantly make decisions in daily life. Some decisions are simple choices (e.g., Coke or Pepsi) while others affect people’s entire lives. Furthermore, every decision has consequences and often there is not a clear alternative. Decisions involve weighing alternatives and considering the consequences. This unit presents opportunities for students to examine values, beliefs, and pressures that surround decision making.

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. -William James

Life Pressures
What are the important decisions that we will have to make in our life time?
Related Questions:

  • What are the commonplace decisions we have to make every day? What role do peers, parents, and teachers play in our decisions? What role does experience play in our decisions? How do you make up your mind?
  • What are the common pressures we face in today’s society? What are the greatest pressures for us?
  • What are the best ways to learn the important lessons of life?
  • What things worry or annoy us? How do people respond to stress in life?
  • How can we control our fate? How can we “seize the moment” when opportunities present themselves?

How do we uphold our values?
Related Questions:

  • What role do our values play in decision making? What other factors influence our decisions?
  • What do we value most? How do our actions reflect this?
  • How do our values differ from others? How do we determine our values?
  • What makes us listen or not listen to our conscience?
  • What considerations must we take into account if our decisions directly affect the lives of other human beings? What actions can a group take in order to prevent an individual from doing what he/she believes is right?
  • What is worth fighting for? What compromises are we willing to make?

How do we live with the consequences of our decision making?
Related Questions:

  • What are the consequences of an important decision that you have made recently?
  • What are informed decisions? What are uninformed decisions?
  • What role does foresight play in our decision making? What are the advantages and disadvantages of hindsight?
  • What is the effect of making a decision when we are uncertain of the consequences? What are the consequences of making decisions which go against what other people think? What price do we pay for each decision we make?
  • What role does emotion and feeling play in our decision making?

Career Decisions
What are the important career decisions we must make in a life time?
Related Questions:

  • How do we attain our personal and career goals? What alternative choices do we have?
  • What specific personal, academic, and socio-economic choices will we be willing to make in order to achieve our career goals?
  • What is the most important choice you have had to make in your life thus far?
  • Who controls our future? What do we do if our plans work out differently than what we had intended?

Apathy versus Action
How and why must we act upon our knowledge, values, and abilities for the well-being of others?
Related Questions:

  • How can we justify a position or action?
  • What moves us to action? What forces encourage apathy?
  • How can we act to make our views and decisions felt?
  • How can society be improved?
  • Does conforming to the beliefs and actions of the majority make a person a “good citizen”?


Bloggiest start to the bloggiest year ever.

What a funny word, “bloggiest”. Should I say it is a “most bloggy” start to the year? Does correct English matter in a blog?

All students I teach have begun a blog, of sorts. For the most part, I’ve insisted the content of the blog must be school or course related, the myriad responses to Macbeth fit this category. Other responses are more like “snowflakes”, snowflakes is my term to describe the phenomena of no two responses to the same prompt being identical.

I aggregate(not related to the term aggravate) RSS feeds from each class to aid in tracking down assigned work. Each student has a spreadsheet I term the Data Collector that averages rubric scores and totals moderated comment feeds, too. I then collect the Data Collectors periodically to determine scores to enter into GradeLogic. The data collectors serve a dual purpose, a foundation to build a grade obviously, but a powerful device to bring a landslide of peer pressure and collaborative assistance on the lazy, slower, or reluctant bloggers. Those that finish first have always shown a willingness to “share their secrets” with others.

Students are also instructed to collect and deposit appropriate comments on each other’s blogs, too. It is proving to be a fine art to learn to comment. Last year I found the aspect of commenting to be more valuable than the creation of the posts. Comments must contain evidence of critical thinking, I said, not simply “gladhanding”. If you troll the blogs you’ll notice the biggest difference right now between a veteran blogger and a newbie is the quality/quantity of appropriate comments. Students complete work earlier to benefit from positive/any attention from peer “commentors”. Any student who doesn’t get their blog post done on time, gets punished by receiving low or no rubric scores from their peers. However, unlike class discussions, the very nature of blogging allows anyone to catch up at any time. The students themselves seem to have an unofficial pecking order for who writes the best comments. They have internalized their own standards for what they will accept as a comment on their blog and are very persuasive at convincing each other to measure up. A few students are positively verbose and comment on all they can. Others choose fewer responses yet measure their words very carefully. Those that finish writing a post early, are left to hustle remaining students.

The grade 10s are shifting their attention to Keyboarding modules for a while, although I keep prodding them about “Turing Tests”. iGod is our most recent fascination.

The grade 9s get their prompts from Mrs. Fraser’s class then I help them become a bit more tech savvy.

The Grade 11s are in the midst of Macbeth and may see no reprieve for at least 2 more weeks, I figure. The more traditional assignments I’ve used for the last 14 years are as appropriate in a blog as they have ever been in my class. Doing it with blogs is just so cool!