When I asked my students for respectful suggestions about the next term, here is what they said:
6 said: STICK TO THE SUBJECT and not veer off (ouch!)
5 said: MORE group projects
4 said: SLOW DOWN and REVIEW MORE
We want REWARDS like A PIZZA PARTY
3 said: Let us eat in class
We want more DEBATES, if they can be respectful
2 said: We want to watch a movie now and then
Give us more feedback on writing and homework
Don't be so intimidating.
We want more group games
1 said: MOVE ALONG FASTER
Give us creative writing
Stop making us be quiet
Let us use our phones when we want
More talk about social issues, it was interesting
Put us in mixed-ability groups so better students can help the weaker ones
We want art projects
Give us work in advance so we can just do it at our own pace
Stop giving us 300-word essays (I think there was just one)
I do promise that I will stick to the subject at hand and not veer off, and that there will be more group projects. I cannot slow down the entire class, but I will try to speak more slowly. No, there won't be rewards and incentives all the time, because this isn't middle school. But I might arrange for pizza at the very end of the term.
No, I won't let everyone bring food and eat throughout class because it is often distracting and makes a mess, but maybe we can allow more freedom in the future. Yes, we can have respectful discussions more, in the future, and no, you probably are not going to be watching movies. Schoology will help me give you more feedback on your work, and yes we should play more group games.
And to summarize the last points:
No you cannot use your phone whenever you want,
Sometimes you have to be quiet,
Yes you will have creative writing and art projects in the future, and
I will think about mixed-ability groups, and respectful diuscussions.
Yes, you will eventually write more long pieces, and
Yes, giving you assignments in advance is a great idea.
Yes, I value my students,
Yes, I appreciate honest feedback,
and Yes, yes, yes --
I'm listening to everything you say (even if I don't do everything you ask of me).
Have a great weekend --