Reflecting on Past Expectations with Futureme.org

One of my frustrations is getting students beyond grades and focused on learning and improvement in a personally meaningful way. Often, as students learn and grow in their abilities, they fail to recognize their own growth. Even reflection from assessment to assessment doesn’t necessarily provide the ah-ha crystallizing total distance traveled from day one – I visualize the academic equivalent of Ford Prefect’s ability to convey to anyone else the “incomprehensible sense of distance” between their places of birth. Snap – that’s how far, so whaddya think? I’m wondering tonight if futureme.org is a way. I’m thinking that I’ll create an anticipatory set of questions or comments on fiction and poetry for August, and have students mail their responses to their school accounts in December, and then do a similar activity for April in the AP Literature course, for example.  What attitudes might be revealed? What prejudices or preconceptions? What worries long past, what misunderstandings? Could a carefully crafted anticipatory set uncover learning such as improved higher order critical analysis, compositional awareness, or other elusive, complex skill sets, as the ignorant or partially complete voice from the past is encountered in the future? I’m going to try this next year and report back.

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