But really, everyone wasn’t happy. “Everyone” being happy really consisted of the 5-10 kids that were super engaged, and everyone ELSE was just twiddling their thumbs and glad they didn’t have to engage with anything.
I was also the center of the classroom universe. All the conversation filtered through me and my Academic Lens, which made me feel like I was magical. That way worked for a few kids, but it didn’t really make a community for everyone, where all of the kids (or at least the vast majority of them) felt engaged.
As I’ve done more and more tech-based lessons over the past few years, I have struggled with building classroom community-- which has been more personally difficult for me because I used to think I was SO GOOD at it. My students have largely not talked to each other in awhile, other than in small friend-group-enclaves.
My thoughts for now are that the kids need to be doing more presentations, which serve to get them out of their bubbles and let everyone’s eyes be on everyone’s projects. Eventually, the students will have to make design projects, create proposals in groups, present them, and let actual clients select winners.
My desire, though, is that my class engages all students, not just a handful of future Lit majors. It’s hard to make that transition from “I Am The Magical Center Of These Kids’ Education Universes” to something more along the lines of “I’m creating an atmosphere where you all can be successful and still have space to ad-lib and fit these parameters in a way that makes YOU happy.”
The hope, anyway, is that Engaged Students = Happy Students = Better Classroom Community.