Tuesday, August 23, 2005

First day of class

Today was the first day of Young Adult Literature. I was not throw-up nervous. I did feel strange. Apprehensive. There are 26 students in class and one other one that emailed me asking for an override. I haven't emailed her back. This is what we did today. By the way, my watch was 10 minutes slow! I thought it was 9:15 and it was 9:25. Note to self: Always check to see if your watch is correct. I gave them notecards to fill out with their name, address, email, and any learning concerns that they had. I introduced myself. Hate that part. I did Find Someone Who with them as a community building activity. I also talked to them about the dual nature that they must have in this class. On one hand, they are students. They needs to approach what they try in class as students. Then, they need to flip-flop and look at what they are doing as a teacher, as a practitioner. So, I spent a lot of time asking why. Why would Find Someone Who be a good thing. They answered what I hoped they would. It's a wonderful way to get to know people. It forces people to talk to each other and get to know each other. The questions are not threatening, so it is easy to talk about. You are up and moving around the room. I should have made them talk a bit about management techniques that make things go better. I should share with them the quiet signal and ask them why I had them stand back to back.

I had them write about what they hoped to get from this course. They stood up and shared that, and we also had a few people share with a larger group. I should also ask them about why I made them write down their answers, share with a partner, and then let a few people share with a larger group. Why does that work? I want them to think about those managment things, so class discussion goes well. I also had them share as a class their perceptions of teenagers. They perceive students as more advanced than they were, as young people trying to find themselves, egocentric, invincible. C. shared, "Hell hath no fury like a teenage girl." I should have had them end the class with a writing. I will always do that because I really needed and wanted some feedback.

This is what they said they wanted to know:
how to write lesson plans
how to teach literature
what methods can you use?
what are your responsibilities as an English teacher?
how do you reach students who don't like English?
How do you choose the books that best suit students in your classroom?
How do you help students who like to read and write but struggle with it?
How do you help alliterate students?
How do you teach to a variety of levels?

Here is an indirect question that I heard: Is young adult literature only for struggling students? I wonder why we have that perception. I wonder why young adult literature is not at the forefront of all of our English classes.

Here are some responses I jotted down about why they chose to teach secondary English:
Actually this is my response: I thought that it would be more challening and easier in some ways ( I was wrong about the easy part). I wanted to have intellectual discussions. I wanted to help them be successful in college. I wanted to have more of a one to one rapport than I could find in elementary.

personalites are forming
conversations about literature can affect them
strong-minded but impressionable
productive and exciting
motivation to stay in school and impact student choices
I want to be a good advisor
they can begin to see a trend in what they like and how they learn. I can help further students talent and potential.
Show them a variety of responses like Mrs. Goodlitz did.
Show them they can

I had them try a book pass. They only went through about six books. I asked them, as students, why they thought this exercise was good. Then, I asked them to reflect on the idea as a teacher. The one mistake I made. I should have had them each write down those reflections and then share, so they each had to think and write about it.

I also made a mistake because I didn't explain what a book pass was for. I should have told them that the goal was to find an independent reading book. I can't make copies of lesson plans, but maybe I should post lesson plans on blackboards with objectives, etc.

We did not have time to start the literacy timeline. I gave them the homework for Wed. I hope I didn't start too soon by having them read Of Mice and Men and then brainstorm how they might introduce the novel to their class. I asked them these questions: How do you introduce a novel? What do you want students to know at the end of the reading OMM? Andy, if you are reading this, I would love for you to post a response.

There are minor things that I would change. I am disappointed that I didn't finish class wi. th an exit pass. I will for sure do that on Thursday

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