Maybe it's my lack of experience or my own desire to be heard, but I've realized this week that I ask the opinions of my students A LOT! Which led me to the conclusion that students LOVE to give their opinion. They love to tell me which Pandora stations are on point and which ones they never want to listen to again. They also like to have a say in how and what they are going to be learning--I know, HUGE shocker--and I love to hear what they have to say! I want them to have a vested interest in what they are learning, not only for my sanity, but so they actually learn.
This doesn't, however, mean that I guarantee to do everything that they suggest. They're teenagers, which means that they are going to have some pretty off the wall, crazy ideas. Some days these outrageous thoughts are the inspiration I need for a new project or lesson, but there are definitely times when I wish they would be serious about the things they're suggesting.
But the best thing is when they come to class, I pass out or explain what we're doing, and they can say, "Hey! I/We helped you come up with this! This was my/our idea!" At that point, they are very invested in the work they are going to complete, even if that initial reaction might fade some. It's that original surge of pride that keeps me asking. After all, they are the experts on themselves, and why wouldn't I want an expert's opinion?