Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kate Carroll's Opening Volley

My name is Kate Carroll and I am in my 19th year of teaching English at Middlebury Union High School. I received my MA from the Bread Loaf School of English in 1999 and am currently earning a M. Litt with a focus in epic literature at BL.  I’m not sure about my official role this year as a VT BLTN--What’s the Story? participant, maybe cheering squad?!

This year, I love that 
  • students may select and pursue topics that they are intrigued by/passionate about; 
  • our number of participants, comprising middle school, high school, and college students as well as teachers and community members, has doubled; and 
  • we have students returning as mentors!
One Ah-ha moment I have had: witnessing Tim’s morphing of  the I-Search Paper into weekly blog posts. Genius!  As a long time fan of students conversing about their learning informally and yet with and for a real audience (a common practice of BLTN teachers and students, originally via “Breadnet”), I think this course design encourages participants to delve more quickly and deeply into our core question, what’s the story?, for their various topics.
On the first day, I did wonder if 20+ students investigate and fall hard for individual topics, how will individuals segue into teams? I wonder what interesting challenges we will face as we wrestle with the tension of two essential qualities to this learning process, namely pursuing a self-selected topic of social worth and collaborating as a team of learners. . . .

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