I'm composing this after class, and maybe should wait until I've had time to really think about class. I [finally] taught the Ordeal by Cheque lesson - my favorite lesson of all the example lessons I teach - and it felt a little flat - off somehow. For the first time ever this lesson seemed less than motivating. Maybe it was just so late, and once again I tried to do too much. Maybe it was me - was I too tired? Maybe I feel this way because the reflection on the lesson was rushed, and instead of just stopping [like I've done several times this semester] I had to give an example of what NOT to do - again. Yes, maybe that's it. I packed too much into the lesson [four reflective activities?? What was I thinking!!]. OK, so here is what I WISH I had done.
I wish I had done the Literary Report Card and ended the lesson. Then I could have unpacked the lesson and provided examples of the other reflective strategies as a set of possibilities. The Polar Opposites would still have been a good example of a way for ELA teachers to enrich vocabulary and have students reflect on the story. The character map could have been compared to semantic maps, synonym maps, and concept maps. Finally, the diamante could have been another example of a way to use poetry to help students reflect on their learning. Maybe next week I'll get the students into content partners and have them create some of these - and discuss ways to adapt these strategies for other content areas.
So, here's what I've learned and what I need to remember [again]: when I try to do too much, I end up watering down the lesson - because students don't take away from the lesson what I really want them to see.
I wonder how many times I will have to mess up this way before I don't ever do this again??! I'm sure my students tonight wish I had learned the lesson for good and all. Just goes to show - sometimes even those of us who have done this for a loooong time mess up!