When spring arrives, the warmth and sunlight can refresh us and change our thoughts.
Students seem full of energy, which might be guided into learning activities or might result in “rambunctious” behavior. Teachers notice that the sun is up when they wake and drive to school, and they notice the buzz of students in the halls.
During this time, while energy may increase, focus often wains. Students and teachers both know that final quarter of the year has arrived, as have the thoughts and pressures of end-of-year events. Teachers and students may feel an intellectual “lull”–like their brains are trying to cruise to the finish line.
This year I’ve tried to disrupt this simply by trying something completely new to the end year. The multigenre research paper is a type of writing that I’ve never taught before, even though I’ve taught all the pieces of it. It includes brainstorming, researching, planning, and writing poems/essays/narratives/any genre you can think of in order to convey an idea about a research topic. It’s a totally new experience for me and my students. I’ve never taught multigenre and they’ve never wrote it.
It seems that learning adds an energy to each day, just as the spring does. As I seek out resources–both in print and in person–to guide me in teaching the multigenre paper, I find myself excited to implement the new ideas tomorrow or next week in the classroom. At a time when students may feel that the year is “winding down,” I hope that my enthusiasm about this new type of writing shows, and some of it transfers to them.
With this new unit comes the miniature failures and success, frustrations and realizations, complications and serendipitys that come with trying anything new in the classroom. But as I’ve tried to remember throughout this year, if I wait for the time when I feel fully ready to try something, that time will never come.
The best time to try something new is today.