Thursday, August 25, 2005

Day 2

I think I'll be using this blog as a place to reflect on my teaching of a Young Adult Literature class for secondary English Education majors. I am also considering sharing my blog. I think I want them to see my reflections on my own teaching practices. I went to IRA in May and in a session a presenter talked about the lesson reflections that students were doing. She wanted them to look at their strengths and weaknesse. In the examples she showed us, she pointed out that students were not looking at what they could do better. Maybe by reading my reflections of my own teaching, it can help them be more reflective.

Here goes:
Time flies in the hour before class starts. I walked in and the tables were a mess. I checked out the overhead projector, but I knew I needed to do some last minute tweaking of the plans. I wanted to take the questions that they wrote for Of Mice and Men and then model for them a Fan and Pick. It's a small group discussion strategy. It is hard to fit in everything. I also wanted to be more explicit about putting my objectives on the board or on screen. It changed my teaching when I started with the objectives at the beginning of class and ended by reviewing what the initial objectives were. I wasn't explicit enough in my objectives. We did do an exit pass which I have sitting beside me, but I haven't had the chance to read yet.

I've been posting assignments on the Blackboard, and I hope that helps to keep things straight. I think it will help me with continuity. Also, I really wanted to discuss those informal lesson plans for OMM. Will I have time to talk more about that on Tuesday? I can't complain about being crowded because we are in a large room, but I wanted to show them a fish bowl--at least try it. We were getting near the end of class and I don't think my directions were as good as they could have been. But, at least they got to share or hear at least two or three other lesson plans. I would really like for them to post those informal lesson ideas and also respond to some. I'm not sure exactly how I should organize those responses. Is it good enough to say "read and respond to two or three postings? I also wondering if I am giving too much homework or not enough.

We did not discuss how teachers deal with the language of the book. We have got to talk about that. I know several teachers who send letters home to parents making them aware that some of the books might have inappropriate or obscene language. I wanted to know how they would deal with that.

We got started on the literacy autobiography. I need to post on the Blackboard my "How to Write a First Draft." There was a question about how long it should be. I probably should have said something like "however long it needs to be"--not in a smart aleck way, of course. I probably should be having them write their own scoring guides for assignmnet, and I need to be more explicit about collecting these writings that we are doing in class. So far, they have written about the following:
Why those chose to pursue the teaching of secondary students?
They chose a passage that evoked strong imagery for them and either wrote a poem, using that passage, or wrote from the perspective of the character.
All of these in-class writings needs to be collected in their Teacher Notebook.

I think class went really well. For the exit pass, I asked them to tell me one thing that they could take away from class today. I would also like to talk to them about why an exit pass is a good thing to use in class. I told them it was a good thing but not why it is a good thing. I gave them my rationale for having them answer questions. I also asked them to think about if students have to comprehend the text before they can respond. That's just a question to think about. Reader response theory suggests that students can respond to a text without understanding everything. Anderson and Rubano talked about a study where professors, students, and adults with only minimal education all responded to a text. In an unarticulated response (I think) they all responded pretty much the same way. I thought that was interesting.

Maybe this is what I should research? What happens when I reflect on my teaching and the students in my class read and respond to my reflections of the class that i teach them. Not a very well articulated 20 words, but a start, nonetheless.

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