This has been a semester unlike any other. Campus shut downs, social distancing, synchronous classes. Administration, faculty, staff, and especially students had to regroup and rethink what this semester was going to look like.
This was a very stressful time for my chohort. Not only was it our very first semester teaching, but we had to do it in a very non-traditional setting. We had to take special training courses in addition to our regular practicum classes. Even though I think the English Department did an amazing job of preparing us for teaching, we were all still terrified on the first day of class.
Even though we had so many changes and challenges, I felt it was important for me to still assign four major papers. For the first, I chose a personal narrative using a song to write about a powerful memory. Then I asked for a compare and contrast essay using two television programs from the same decade of their choice. For their rhetorical analysis, they had to choose a famous speech to argue for or against. From the feedback I received from the students, these papers were a hit.
However, I did something completely different for the fourth. They were put into groups, and given a decade to research and prepare a multi-modal presentation. This was a chance for them to be creative and have fun working together. All rose to the occasion and showed their creativity, using text, photos, videos, and audio to showcase the politcs, entertainment, and fashion of their decades.
All groups used power points to showcase their presentations, except for one. This group was unusual in two ways. First, they were a group comprised of four decades: 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. Then, they decided to produce a podcast. The four of them gathered at the Legacy Pavillion on campus, and while maintaining social distancing and safety protocols, recorded a podcast that remined me of an old-timey radio show. Their theme was Patriotism, with each member speaking to their decade, while also comparing to the 2020’s.
Below are some of the comments I received from the members of this group when I asked for permission to use here:
I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that you enjoyed it as much as my group did. Thank you for such a great semester!
I know I speak for the group when I say that we would be delighted to have you use our project! As I said before, the assignment was a thought-out one that afforded the opportunity for creativity and collaboration that was much needed to end this semester. Thank you for choosing ours…!