Not Your Parent's Sick Day

We've all been there: We are still a bit sick, but not completely bed-ridden, and probably contagious, so we have to stay home.  Even though we are on the road to recovery, it still takes a lot out of us to spend the whole day at work or at school, so we stay home to rest and recover strength.  We have to take a sick day.

This week, my 7th graders were working on a collaborative inquiry project.  They have been in the throes of studying William the Conqueror, the foundations of the feudal system in Europe and the rise of nation states in Europe and England.  As a counterpoint to studying the nations that were becoming prominent in the 11th Century, we have also been investigating the Holy Roman Empire.  In our research, the class discovered a critique by Voltaire on the Holy Roman Empire:  He claims the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, Roman nor an Empire.

So our inquiry included engaging in research to discover what Voltaire meant by that.  I tasked the students with finding out as much as they could about the Holy Roman Empire between the years of 800-1200 AD.  In their working groups, they were to decide if they agree or disagree with Voltaire.  Their groups are to create a public presentation piece that outlines their position on the issue.

In one of the groups, a group member had to take a sick day.  Since she was mostly recovered, but not completely well, she had enough energy to be able to work, but could not come to school.  I was happily surprised to see that her group members and she had planned to hold a Google Hangout during History class so that they could continue to work on the collaborative project. They also set up a classroom on TodaysMeet so that they could have a record of the conversations they had, notes they took, and sources that they were using!

That's what a 21st century classroom looks like; that's how a 21st century student works!  I could not have been prouder of those kids for planning it all themselves to get their work done.

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