Saturday, November 19, 2016

Use this procedure when you present the Postman Questions to your students

The procedure used by Mario Llorente to distribute the Postman Questions in September 2016.

DO NOT announce the project to the whole class.   The purpose is for the students to discuss.  This is a "whisper campaign."  Let the students know individually that their responses to these questions is VERY IMPORTANT and you are planning to put their answers into a book and on websites, either with their names or anonymously, whatever they want, or their responses can be kept off the Internet.  But you can whisper that "this is very important."
Start by downloading the Postman Questions.  
www.TINYURL.com/postmanquestions
Step 1:  Print the questions.  For a class of 20-30 students, make two copies of each question.
Step 2:  Find the sheet that reads "Rules for Replying to the Postman Questions"  The sheet has these points:

[1]  You can decide to do this now, or you can wait until later next week.   
[2]  You can write now or you can take the question home with you. 
[3]  If you want, you can look at the internet to get some more ideas before you start replying.   
[4]  I can send you the full list of questions if you want to see them. 
[5]  If you want to do this, please take your time and there is no time limit.

Step 3:  Spread the questions on a desk.  Assign classwork so that the students are occupied.  Ideally, you already use projects in your class and the students are working as if you don't exist (Maria Montessori's goal).  Call one student at a time to your desk and speak quietly.  Inform each student with the following message:  

"This is an optional activity.  you don't have to do it.  If you put effort into your answer, I'll give you academic credit.  The purpose is to introduce you to questions that a great teacher asked me to give to you.   You can decide to do this now, or you can wait until later next week.   You can write now or you can take the question home with you.  If you want, you can look at the internet to get some more ideas before you start replying.   I can send you the full list of questions if you want to see them.   If you want to do this, please take your time and there is no time limit.  If you don't see something that you want to write about, you can write about anything that you want to write about.   I'll give you academic credit for your essay."

Step 4:  When the students submit their answers, then you take photos of each piece and insert the answers in a book.  Collect the answers and create a book of "Responses to the Neil Postman Questions."   You can see examples of the first edition with writings by Mario's students by going to TinyURL.com/BoiseWorkbook2.