I'm a high school senior (honors & Advanced Placement) English teacher, and it took me some time to understand the delicate balance of what being a senior in high school means. While I agree with the previous postings regarding understanding your objectives, I do not believe that your objectives should be the only force to drive the instruction - I believe students should be the main factor in creating objectives, which will then lead to instruction. Those objectives need to be shaped around the balance - "young adult" - a high school senior is the true embodiment of what a "young adult" is; they are mentally preparing for college, while they are still in high school -- they are both "kid" and "grown-up."
Through understanding this, you must make activities that stimulate the "kid" side, while preparing them for the "grown-up" aspect. I found that the best in-class responses from seniors were through debates and whole group discussions over controversial topics. Whether you teach English, History, etc. - every subject poses its controversies, and senior year is, in my opinion, the best time to bring those to light.
I also find that seniors will respond to large projects that require them to explore outside of the school building. This appeals to their desire for freedom while still adhering to structure and guidelines. For example, I asked my students to visit the Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, NY) and choose a favorite piece of art (painting, sculpture, artifact, etc.). They were required to give a voice to that art (we were discussing the use of dialogue with Pride and Prejudice), and explain which character would be most drawn to that art and what textual proof do we have of that.
I too think that writing for a variety of purposes is one of the most important skills we can impart before seniors leave high school. While I teach a literature heavy curriculum and students write most of their essays in responses to literature, we are always talking about the best way to craft an argumentative thesis and support that thesis with higher order reasoning. I model examples of reasoning beyond the literature. For example, they may end up writing an essay about the causes of Hamlet's delay in action, but we are going to talk about what makes a solid cause and effect paper, what are stucture options are and how to avoid causal fallacy before they write that paper.
I'm a high school English teacher, so I read this to mean HS seniors. I've taught Freshmen for the last 5 years, and I'll be teaching Seniors next year, so I think this is a wonderful question. I know that teaching this group of students, my primary goal is to prepare them for college. The way our district has the English classes split for seniors, I know that the majority of my students, if not all of them will go to college or at the very least, a trade school. They need to have skills that will make them successful in any class requiring any sort of "English" skills, such as writing, problem solving, figuring out the meanings of words through text, etc. These are some of the main concepts we focus on to make sure those students are ready for what's coming at them....much quicker than they want to admit.
I actually read this question to mean "senior" like senior citizen. Seniors in high school or college don't necessarily need terribly different instruction than other grades.
Senior citizens however would probably be a completely different ball of wax. I think in this realm teaching the immediate use of the subject is always a good idea and again, the role-playing and teaching others seems to work. I think adults also enjoy (and get more out of) group work.
As an English teacher, I have two primary goals--with lots of subsets under each, of course. First, I hope to inspire them to enjoy learning. If it's not just a chore, if they learn to make connections to other things they've learned, they'll be outstanding college students and lifelong learners. Second, I want them to be able to read, think, and write effectively. Those are critical life skills which will stand them in good stead as they pursue any course in life. My seniors all write a major (5,000 word) research paper; after that, they're not afraid of any writing thrown at them in college. They read a lot, respond often, and write all kinds of analyses. Preparing them for the rigors of college reading, writing and thinking is my goal for seniors every year.
As a 12th grade Political Science and Economics teacher I believe in activities that promote the civic and financial responsibilities necessary to actively participate in a democratic-republic. As young adults in a very complex global society, they need to both understand and implement the democratic processes. Therefore my lessons incorporate a series of colaborative lessons involving community leaders as well as local organizations that promote the responsibilities and values of citizenship. In addition, I think that promoting adult responsibility in a free society can be incorporated in just about any senior class. For example, a senior English class could devote time to analyzing newspaper journalism, teaching the student to distinguish between different perspectives.
I am assuming that we are talking about students that are seniors in college. By this point, students should be very responsible and they should also be very familiar with their own learning styles. I think that it may be appropriate to let them develop their own learning activities. They can collaborate with their classmates by sharing what works the best for them.
I agree with the previous responder who stated that role playing is an appropriate learning activity. Role playing gives the students an opportunity to interact with other students in a way they may be unfamiliar with. This will help to prepare them for situations in which they may not expect.
Role playing, too, is a good way to empower senior students. If, for instance, the students are in a Government/ Economics class which is a requirement in public schools for many a state, students could be assigned to a panel that must present arguments against the support of a bill. Or, they could be assigned to present a new bill or issue. They can be placed on various committees which they must organize, etc.
Another thing that works well is to have students enact a mock trial using one modeled after a real trial or a trial in a literay work. Perhaps they are on the Supreme Court, and a trial has come to them. For instance, a number of years ago, a Michigan student filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court. She contended that the criteria set for entrance was discriminatory. For instance, points were given because of one's minority racial background, etc.
Perhaps another trial might be better, and less complicated. Certainly, there are many that can be reviewed, or created.
I think that much is going to depend on what has to be taught, how it will be assessed, and the freedom that the teacher has in their own classroom setting. These issues probably have to be resolved before anything else in terms of methodology is approached. Having said this, I would think that one of the most powerful elements for Senior Students is to have them teach their colleagues. Make them responsible for instruction of sections of a particular lesson and there is a sense of "giving them the keys to the kingdom." If structured accurately and correctly, then there is little reason to believe that there will not be a sense of renewed enthusiasm in teaching and learning. Senior student would be able to see this as a rite of passage, an indication that they have progressed to a certain point where they can be trusted for the most precious resource in all classrooms: Instruction. For their part, the teacher can begin the process of looking at Senior Students as almost collegial and showing them the respect and stature that their position as Seniors necessitate. As I said, I think that this has to be discussed and implemented in a very thorough and directed manner, but in doing so, it might be quite rewarding to undertake with students of the Senior class.
There is no best learning activities. It will depend on the learning objectives that you wanted to achieve and the subject matter that you wanted to teach.
Please follow these steps in choosing the learning activities in your class.
1. Identify the students you have
2. Choose acceptable and attainable objectives
3. Look on your subject matter and write some possible activities that you wanted to do.
4. Write these activities you think in a checklist
5. Weight this activities by checking on its relevance and must in-line on your objectives, time that will consume and learning resources that will be use
6. During the application, look for possible problems you observe and reactions from your students faces
7. Evaluate the activities if objectives are attain and the students enjoyed it
8. Note the learning activities that are effective and modify the ineffective ones
It will help you a lot
As a 12th grade English teacher, I think that it is most important for my students to work on their writing skills. My students do not seem to understand that once they are in college, it will be required for them to write 5-10 page papers on a weekly basis.
I aim to condition them in the way of writing basic essays in a short period of time. I plan to require 5 page papers in the way of research, and persuasion, on a monthly basis.