Open Collaboration in Teaching

About: I earned a Master of Arts in Teaching, Wayne State, in 2005. I taught social science (and computer) courses at Montcalm Community College, Sidney (Michigan), from 2006-2009 (64 credits). I am currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant (we usually have our own classes of up to 70 students) at Wayne State University. I am a Ph.D. Candidate. See an example of what my class thinks of me here.

Lecture Collaboration: As a teacher, after a group assignment or after a lecture, I sometimes ask my students to show five fingers for “hated it” and a fist for “loved it.” Even though there have only been a few classrooms full of eager fists, I hope that sharing these Lectures with you is worthwhile, and that collaboration will lead to greater efficacy. So below are examples of how I sometimes teach (the lectures students say were a success).

My Template: All in-class assignments / handouts are formatted with at least the following: (1) title, (2) the chapter it corresponds to in the class (i.e. Congress for P.S. 101), (3) detailed outline of activities and expected minutes used for the teacher—the instructions, (4) the actual handout (perhaps to be projected) for the students—the work to be completed.

****************************************************************************************

Lectures for Political Science 101 (U.S. Government):

Political Science 101 Chapter Download Lesson Time
DNC 2012 Platform Intro / Parties  DNC Platform 40 minutes

I downloaded the DNC 2012 party platforms and divided each platform into 35 sections—I created 35 excerpts as 35 handout pages. Regarding the excerpt each student received, three questions would be answered by the student after silent reading: what is the main point of the excerpt, which attitudes or demographics does this appeal to, and how do you think the other party would be different? Since I have 70 students, the exercise was designed so that: (1) the students had five minutes to read the party platform excerpt and answer my questions, (2) five minutes to find his or her fellow group member and “introduce yourself”—i.e. each excerpt was labeled at the top with a number from 1-35, (3) five minutes to create a “group answer,” and (4) 25 minutes for me to call on groups to read his or her answer from a unique part of the party platform. For classes <30 students, pick top ten as useful to the lecture.

*******************************************************************************************

Political Science 101 Chapter Download Lesson Time
RNC 2012 Platform Intro / Parties RNC Platform 40 minutes

I downloaded the DNC 2012 party platforms and divided each platform into 35 sections—I created 35 excerpts as 35 handout pages. Regarding the excerpt each student received, three questions would be answered by the student after silent reading: what is the main point of the excerpt, which attitudes or demographics does this appeal to, and how do you think the other party would be different? Since I have 70 students, the exercise was designed so that: (1) the students had five minutes to read the party platform excerpt and answer my questions, (2) five minutes to find his or her fellow group member and “introduce yourself”—i.e. each excerpt was labeled at the top with a number from 1-35, (3) five minutes to create a “group answer,” and (4) 25 minutes for me to call on groups to read his or her answer from a unique part of the party platform. For classes <30 students, pick top ten as useful to the lecture.

******************************************************************************************

Political Science 101 Chapter Download Lesson Time
Public Opinion “Canons” Public Opinion Public Opinion Workshop 45 minutes

I have taken 9 “canons” from the political science literature and condensed them into 1 page (thus 9 pages of handouts—this works well for 27 students, or, 270). Each canon is an excerpt from a book review or from the actual canon. The idea is that every PS 101 student should know what a political scientist actually does, and the canons indeed represent how political scientists research public opinion.

Part I: Students read the page and then write down answers to the questions: (1) In two-three sentences, what is the author’s main point—contribution to public opinion research? (2) What is the best quote from your reading? Why? (10 Minutes). 

Part II: Find your group members—others in class who also read and wrote on same summary. Do a 1 minute interview: name, major, place on campus to go eat… Group talk about your answers (5 Minutes). Group discussion about “Why this research is meaningful” and create an integrated “Best Answer” for questions 1 and 2 (5 Minutes).

 Part III: Group Names announced and each group spokesperson addresses the center of the room and explains: (1) the main point of the summary and (2) the best quote. After the student speaks, connect the student’s comments with the textbook, with wider theories and explanations of public opinion; wisely lead the comments to the next group you will call on (20 Minutes).

*****************************************************************************************

Political Science 101 Chapter Download Lesson Time
3 SCOTUS Models Supreme Court The Three Supreme Court Models Lecture 50 minutes

 The Lecture Question: “How does a Supreme Court Justice really decide?”

 The Lecture: This lecture on the Supreme Court (PS 101 or Courts course) is designed to (1) poetically inform the class about three common political science Supreme Court models; (2) engage critical thinking and collaboration in the classroom; and to (3) leave the class questioning how they might create a model for SCOTUS decision-making.

 Part I: Hand out the poems for review. Each student will see a “Model” at the top (attitudinal, legal, or rational choice). Students will read the short poem excerpt and re-write the essential argument / evidence as an “essential sentence” (7 minutes).

 Part II: The students will get in groups according to the Model type. Then, they will separate into groups of five (3 minutes). Next, the students will write down their “essential sentence” on the handout Appendix A. Then, they will pass their original paper to the left and write down their neighbors “essential sentence.” Once they have written down every group member’s sentence, they will discuss the implications of the research for how and why this model matters for the American society / political development (10 minutes).

 Part III: Call on groups to “read the five essential sentences” (10 minutes). Ask the class, “What does the attitudinal model mean for the American society….political development?” Lead the discussion / lecture (10 more minutes needed).

 Part IV: Ask the class, “What would be a fourth supreme court model for decision-making?” Eventually, explain Appendix B (10 minutes).

*****************************************************************************************

Political Science 101 Chapter Download Lesson Time
Decide like SCOTUS Supreme Court Decide like SCOTUS 40 minutes

The Lecture Question: “What’s Your Decision Process as a Supreme Court Justice?”

Intro: I talked about past decisions Dred Scott, Plessy, and Brown—which showed how the Supreme Court decisions, like in Brown—with Ike calling in the National Guard—radically changed society over night and helped to create the change we observe today. Brown indeed changed our society. Thus, S.C. cases, like the Obamacare decision—likely will dramatically impact all Americans over the next six decades… (15 minutes).

Part I:  Hand out the “Double Standard in the Supreme Court?” 10 Minutes reading / writing. Next: 5 minutes lecture on the answers—explain strict scrutiny and the rational basis tests. Provide historical background and explain “how Supreme Court Justices” decide according to the legal model.

Part II: Hand out the excerpt from SCOTUSblog on Gay Marriage. Read / write (10 minutes). Next: lecture on the answers (5 minutes).

Part III:  Class discussion about Parts I and II. Open call. Connect the dots with American political development. I connected the significance of Plessy to Brown to the “fundamental rights” question… “What would happen if the Court decided that Gay Marriage is a fundamental right?”  The answer, like Brown, is that overnight all state laws against Gay Marriage would be invalid. There may not be federal troops; however, there would likely be massive unrest in states where the majority is “intolerant” of Gay Rights (i.e., political scientists measure intolerance). Connect Gay Marriage to Loving v. Virginia and ask why, or why not, the cases are parallel. Main point: “Rehnquist said that Roe was decided because strict scrutiny way used. If you hear that ‘strict scrutiny’ will be used in a Gay Marriage case—then can’t you predict with almost perfect certainty that the plaintiff (advocate of Gay Marriage) will win?”

***More to come as I create them–and after my students raise their fists.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s