The second major writing assignment that my students have to do is an Annotated Bibliography. I was extremely uncertain how to go about putting together research packets of secondary sources. I know how to do research for myself, but their interests and my interests are very different. Of course, it didn’t help that I forgot to take a vote during class to gather ideas from them about what topics to use for the remaining major assignments of the semester.
Then, I remembered that the students turned in a survey of sorts at the beginning of the semester that had a little information about them and what they were majoring in. Using those surveys, I narrowed down four key areas of study and selected four topics on which to find secondary sources for my students to use. These topics were, (1) Hybrid Learning in Higher Education, (2) Special Education and Inclusion in the Classroom, (3) Transgender Acceptance in Competitive Sports, and (4) School Suspensions and Crime. A majority of my students opted to write about School Suspensions and Crime.
About a week after students selected their topics and began working on their Annotated Bibliography assignment, one of my students was being suspended. This student was going through an appeal process, which ended up being declined, and was suspended from school grounds until for the rest of this semester as well as the coming spring semester. There was nothing I could do to help this student. The majority of the class, focused on the topic of school suspensions and its relationship to crime rates, had no idea a fellow student was being suspended. When I selected the topic, I had no idea this would happen. How could I have known? I hope this student does not fall into the common statistics because of this suspension.