As I have mentioned before, I am now incorporating teaching Microsoft Office into my ABE class. That led me to having one of the very best days I have ever had at this job.
We have been reading about the 13 colonies, and the students were really reluctant to do the work. They don’t like work much at all, and they really don’t have much of an educational background to build upon, so a lot of the work is harder than it should be.
I decided to have them choose a group of colonies (New England, Middle or Southern), research it, and then create a brochure trying to convince people to settle there. I created a template for the students in Publisher, using the project organizer as a guide. Since my students do not have access to the Internet, I had to find articles and books for them to read and maps and clip art that they could use in the brochures.
Today I showed them the brochure template, and walked them through how they would add their own information to it. Most of the students hadn’t finished their research yet, but seeing the brochure seemed to motivate them to work harder than they had before. The one student who had completed her research last week was able to pull her brochure together today. She then played with brochure templates and fonts and color schemes to create exactly what she wanted. When she finished, she showed one of the aides, who called the other students over to look at her work. By the end of the afternoon, everyone was excited and working really hard.
What was especially nice was to have one woman tell me that life in the southern colonies was hard. She then proceeded to tell me what she had learned. And she had learned a lot! It was what I wanted to have happen and what I knew COULD happen, but it was really a treat to have it actually happen!
Incorporating the Microsoft Publisher brochure into the unit really made all the difference in the world. My students were more motivated than I have ever seen them.
I know that this is nothing novel, but it is something really rare in my setting. Today convinced me that it needs to be a lot less rare if we want our students to be really successful!