The weeks between Thanksgiving and FINALS seem to be a couple of weeks of break/no break... it is kind of a strange limbo, between the work of the semester and finals week.
I'm pretty happy with myself this week and next, as I took a risk and scheduled class presentations during these weeks. For the next couple of weeks, I'll be watching them talk about ethical issues. I like the topics and I like the fact that they are doing the work just when the class is getting tired of me.... they get to hear from others AND have the experience of teaching others.
My hope is that they will be more aware of what it takes to teach, the importance of doing the reading and the work it takes to get a lecture ready. At a minimum, I'll have fewer terrible end of semester papers to read etc..
Next time I'm going to give it more structure -- in that I'll set things up so that the groups work better, I'll have all the readings due the same day. I'll also have them write exam questions and turn in an outline the class period before the first presentations.... I suppose I'll allow revisions to both -- I'll have to -- but, that will force them to be more organized.
I'll also give them the structure to make their groups work better. I'll have them agree to 2-3 mandatory meetings, during class time - (so, no excuses) -- and allow them to have a default way to eliminate members who aren't going to meetings or doing their part.
I'm also planning to have some way that the points could vary among group members, by allowing them to allocate percentages of the non-group points according to group responsibility.