Well, I haven't been posting much during the break, but I was remembering an idea that came up during a seminar earlier in the year that I wanted to share.
We were discussing managing class discussions and how to deal with interesting questions that come up which the students are clearly engaged by, but are outside the scope of what you are able to discuss at that time. We developed the idea of a board in the classroom where there topics could be posted as they arise – something that I have referred to in professional workshops as a 'parking lot'.
Then, at other times when individual students have completed what they are working on and have time, these questions of interest can become self-directed extension tasks. Access to agreed research materials (primarily the Internet) will enable students to choose a question of particular interest, build a research strategy and develop an informed response.
Finally, at an agreed time, students who have researched topics can present their findings back to the class.
As we discussed it, this seemed a good way to validate the importance of the questions being raised (without addressing them at the time), provide meaningful extension activity, encourage self-directed learning, and build a community of peer-learning.
I do think it needs a better name that the 'parking lot' though. Any suggestions?