Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And the mistakes just keep on coming

Spring break is over. What a depressing thought! Now, we all just have to endure until the end of the semester – and these MAT students are weeks away from graduation, so I suppose its natural for them to have “senioritis” of a sorts. They are exhausted from student teaching and to make matters worse, I’ve pushed them ever closer to the proverbial edge in READ 867. I sure hope they learn from my mistakes, because I’ve made a ton of them this semester, each one seems to be worse than the first.

During spring break, I got several e-mails from students asking about what was a rather vexing assignment they had been given in the last class. In addition to preparing for the struggling learner jigsaw, I had directed them to read Chapter 10 and to choose two strategies they might use instructionally: one informal grouping strategy and one for cooperative learning groups. Sounds simple enough, right? Except that in my haste to get the assignment pulled together, I had a typo – it was chapter 9 that focused on grouping strategies. Chapter 10 focused on struggling learners. I don’t know whether it was fortunate that the two topics are so interrelated in my Jigsaw or whether that just confused students more. My intention had been to prepare them to read chapter 10 through the struggling adolescent learner Jigsaw. Oh well, the best laid plans of mice and men as they say. What a mess!

So I’ll have to somehow use this mistake to their advantage – and fortunately, after teaching a hundred years, I can figure out a way to do that. Students will share whatever strategies they chose from each of the chapters – then read the alternate chapter for next class. Seems easy, but I feel an ambush coming on. Discussions are richer when students have read different articles or information on similar topics, and that’s what I’m counting on . . . but it feels a bit uneasy to have this almost too-easy solution pop up so quickly, and seem so perfect. Nothing is, of course – but we’ll see.