Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Procrastination destination

I'm sitting here, with assessment projects to grade and mid-terms to finish grading . . . and wondering where in the world the semester has gone. I've "thought" several entries to this Blog, but time has a way of slipping away, especially this semester. I've delayed Blogging in order to get papers graded, get power points done, get things done for the Center - and I can tell that I haven't taken the time to reflect on my teaching in writing this semester. Somehow, just thinking about how things are going doesn't cut it, at least for me.

I was not happy with class last week -- in the middle of class, I realized that even I was drifting -- and I hate that. I felt like we were slogging through vocabulary . . . then slogging through pre-teaching. I refuse to slog through another "topic." Based on the What's Working -- What's Not think writes at the end of the mid-term today, I need to rethink some things -- I need to save time at the end of every class to read to students - without fail. I haven't done that as regularly as I should have, especially for the 2 PM class. There are so many students, and everything seems to take so much longer in that class. Also, the math folks are having difficulty seeing how these strategies can be adapted for their content - so I need to spend some time modeling strategies, then put them in content-specific groups to discuss ways to adapt and use the strategies. We probably need to stop and take a look at everything we have considered so far.

Several students mentioned not really liking theory - and I appreciate that. But I know that if they understand the theory, then they can adapt the strategies with much more success than if they are trying to follow some procedure for a strategy. Knowing a few "guidelines" for learning will help them more than knowing the names of strategies -- they'll end up inventing their own, of that I'm sure.

Students are reading chapter 11 using the different note making strategies -- I'm thinking that perhaps it would be better to have them get in Jigsaw groups to discuss the different strategies instead of "teaching" each other -- but I've already assigned the teaching part, so perhaps I'll adjust what I expect them to do during that time. Next year, though, I think I'll have students use different strategies as we read and discuss the text - and sprinkle in lessons I'll teach and unpack with them.

Well, I'll see what changes I can make at this point - these students are going to be such great teachers and I want them to be prepared!


math_tigress said...

I am one of the math students who admitted to missing the connection between reading strategies and math content. I did not see the relevance of pretty much anything we did in class to the math classroom. However, just in the past few days after becoming more involved in the secondary school classroom (and taking the midterm), I am beginning to realize that there is, in fact, a connection-- and a profound one at that. Granted, I feel some things are still not particularly applicable or efficient, but there are also several other things I once deemed inappropriate that have now begun to show themselves useful. For example, in my math methods course the other day, my professor asked the class to brainstorm ways of introducing the order of operations. Myself and two other peers looked at each other and said "anticipation guide!" It was quite humerous, but at the same time, it was like a light bulb going off in our minds-- we finally made a tangible connection to reading strategies and math. I will be looking to find more connections!

artchild85 said...

Well, I chuckled to myself when I saw your title for your last post, I am afraid I am procrastinating from doing my lesson plan for Tuesday's class, but have no fear, it will be completed by the end of the night (and it is just Sunday)...on the larger scale of procrastinating I am putting off preparing 3 questions for an Egyptian History midterm that is on Tuesday morning. However, you would probably like to know that I will be using strategies from my READ class to tackle the books for those classes, as they are filled with tons of Egyptian vocabulary that I have little to no prior knowledge about...and frankly I like learning new things, but I don’t like reading bottom-up.

More importantly I decided to comment on this post because, in general, I have trouble with not daydreaming in class. The first time you stopped class and made us stand up and stretch I could have cracked up laughing, because I thought it was hilarious seeming how I had not had a teacher to do that since 5th grade. I know it helps me re-engage as to what is going on in class in that moment...still my favorite part is when you read to us in class...I have even thought of doing that for my students, maybe on a smaller scale of providing motivational quotes or something, seeming how I wont have as much class time in a public high school.

I also appreciate that you take the time to ask us what is working or not working for us. You are the first professor/teacher that has really questioned what methods of presentation and teaching/learning styles work for me. Since being in the education field since my freshman year, I always remind myself that not everyone learns and thinks the same way that I do (thank goodness!) A lot of what we have discussed in class and outside activities reminds me to keep an open mind to the diversity I will have to work with in the classroom...more along the lines of learning differences, not just a wide range of ethnic groups and personalities.

Also, I do not want the semester to end, even though I am stoked about student teaching...it just reminds me the faster it gets here the faster it will be over (and right now this semester is moving rather quickly)...and I am not ready for my Clemson experience to be over because 1. Well I just love Clemson and 2. Going into the teaching profession, I learn everyday how little I actually do know, and that can be scary knowing I am going to be influencing young minds. However, I have been provided with the confidence and materials in my education classes, such as yours, that remind me that teaching is a learning process for self as much as it is teaching others.

While I do agree that you give us overwhelming amounts of information this semester, at least through everything we should be able to find something that we can take and apply in our classrooms. I will say that I have gotten more out of this class so far and that will probably double by the end of the semester, compared to the little information that I am getting in my methods class. A student learning under a professor like yourself, who cares about the students and what is working and what is not, is much more influential than a professor who appears to be covering for themselves and is obsessed with us meeting NCATE requirements, although I know those requirements are very important, I think higher emphasis should be placed on the methods of teaching and examples of things that will be useful during student teaching and in our own classrooms.

Even though I find reading to be one of the biggest challenges to incorporate with teaching Social Studies, because it’s hard not to imagine that all of my students will know how to read by the time they get to my classroom, the sad truth is, they may not know. Now I am starting to be able to make the connections though of how I can incorporate reading into my lessons, such as modeling note taking strategies in the classroom as we talked about in class on Thursday.

Anyway, in short…thanks for being structured and attentive to your students' needs. I find it to be very helpful.