Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some days are diamonds - some days not so much!

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!


Ibrahim said...

Sometimes people when they want to do more they seem like they didn't do at all what was in their plan. But we do not realize that we can just exagerate things than they really are. I think that a good job is when you put your own effort and no matter what it can happen you already did it, you already demonstrate your strategy, your own way to teach, of course you always want it to be much better. I really think that everything you do in the class it's awesome, it's just you nobody else it can do. I extremely learned many many things, strategies from you. So thumbs up and keep going!

Adam Smith said...

I thought the ordeal by cheque was a great example of reading nontraditional texts as well as using the scientific method. I throroughly enjoyed it and will probably use it myself. I also think it's very effective to see you "think on the fly" and adjust the lesson plan accordingly. I hope I can pick that skill up quickly. Something tells me it takes falling on the face a few times to really be able to do it in class as a lesson is under way and challenges arise...