What is one thing you wanted to spend more time on?
This might be the easiest prompt for me during this time of reflection. The answer is easy: I wish I could have spent more time on our last unit on religious cults. Simply put, we, quite literally, ran out of time. I ran it right up to the final. We finished it, and I cannot stress how literally I mean this, the day before final exams started and then my students took their final exam on what we'd read for this unit... Which is not something I'd normally recommend... And yet, it was a major success for me and my students... So... allow me to break it down.
Essentially, we spent this unit doing a mystery type Role playing game (RPG). Students were in groups and spent a day creating a detective character. They build their character using the Roman virtues and qualities we'd spent all year working on. Students chose skills as well which played a major role in how things went for them.
Every other day (yes, a quick turn over!) they'd get a new piece of the story and they'd have the period to work through the story and come up with their character's immediate next steps. I would then spent the next 48 hours reading their responses and, based on their skills and qualities, I'd respond in some way. Either with a fail or success or with more details. Without giving too much away (as I am planning to turn this into something else), it kind of went like this:
Story 1: description of crime and crime scene. Introduction of some major religious characters.
Story 2: description of all the other people (Romans and others) who are at the crime scene.
Story 3: There's a commotion.
Story 4: You follow a certain group of characters to the woods
Story 5: You meet the witch.
And... that was all we had time for.
Again, without revealing too much...
First off, let me say that this is something that probably 99% of my students had never done before. There was a lot of anxiety with that, but... we developed a system. I'd provide the support in the alternating classes with vocabulary and culture. On game days, they'd get the stories and about 10 minutes in I'd start to circulate. Sometimes I'd provide lexical support only, other times I might help them with a clue on what to do next. Then... we took the final, but more on that in a minute. Here is some of the feedback I got:
What I wish I had time to do.
Oh man... I could have expanded this into at least 5 more stories. I had plans of after the witch encounter.... they might encounter the Christians, go to a ritual of Isis or Proserpina... perhaps they'd get dragged into a thing with Mithras... The possibilities were endless. This was a point we both lamented: teacher and students... If only we'd had more time!