I'm currently finishing up the unit on the Industrial Revolution with my 10th graders. This unit has been going pleasantly well, especially compared to the jumbled mess it was last year. To finish it up, we're taking a look at some of the effects of the I.R. in order to have students write an editorial as if they're a reporter in 1830.
The set up is that they're moving around the room to different stations with information, pictures, music, etc on topics such as "child labor", "modern buildings" and "industrial production." The thing that's making this work well, rather than just be ok, is that I asked them to not only list positive or negative effects for each topic they examined, but also discuss how the negatives could be fixed with their groups. Wandering around the room clarifying ideas in their information, prodding them to consider negatives and positives not directly specified, and asking them about their suggestions for improvement is my favorite kind of teaching. Small conversations in which I can poke and prod at their ideas and see things start to click. Without having to outright say it, I got a lot of "so that's why we have laws about that nowadays" out of them. :)
My favorite overheard remark:
"I know how to fix this one--have kids go to school more." *sees me walking by* "I never thought I'd say that." I smile.