One of the major changes I've made in my lesson plans toward the end of this year was allowing my students to focus on tangible products instead of mere assignments or activities. Over the past year I have had mixed success with lessons I thought were engaging and entertaining because the students were worried about their grade. I was worried about their learning and wanted to have conversations, but when there are a few bad peas in the pod, it becomes quite difficult to run those discussions.
In response to that, and thinking higher up on Bloom's Taxonomy, I began making my students create and evaluate instead of simply applying knowledge to math problems. Instead of me making a problem set, I had them make a problem set. Instead of me lecturing them on topics, I had them make presentations. I find the kinds of questions they ask me interesting because they want to ensure they are correct in what they are doing while also explaining it to themselves. This definitely promotes higher-order thinking.
One of the best artifacts I am about to experience is a presentation by my first-year students on what they have learned this year. They have been working for 3 days to create presentations and one group in particular has made a song
With that in mind I want to share a document recently shared with me by a teacher friend in Philadelphia. I think he is on the right track with his activity ideas, but needs a bit more help in the creating aspect of learning. Check out his ideas for next year here.