Advice for an Almost-Teacher of English

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Tempest, Oct 10, 2016.

  1. Tempest

    Tempest Guest

    Oct 10, 2016

    I am currently working on my masters in educations (English secondary ed) and I am hoping for some advice from teachers with more experience than me. As part of my class requirements (as I am sure many of you remember) I have to create my own lesson plans. I am terrible at this, despite being well-read, loving books and reading. I am good at coming up with big ideas, projects or discussion topics, things that are more suited to a college class than to a high school classroom. I have trouble picking the right book, selecting standards, picking objectives and making them align with a variety of small activities and assessments. In the end, it takes me way too long to make a lesson plan. So I am here to ask advice: How do you know which book to use? Is it better to being with the text or the standards? and my biggest issue: How do you determine what is a small enough chunk of work or information for students to get through in one period?

    Additionally, any advice, in general, on teaching secondary students would be very welcome.
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Oct 10, 2016

    Our district has a set of approved texts and a general course of study, so that's what I choose from. Some anthologies come with a pacing guide that will give you an idea of how much time a piece will take. Otherwise, it's really experience. I can fill a 55-minute class practically to the second, but that skill took a few years to develop.

    Do you belong to Jim Burke's English Companion Ning? It's free, and just browsing on there should give you lots of ideas. http://englishcompanion.ning.com/
     
  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Oct 10, 2016

    Look at the standard you want to teach, write your objective, and then select the text or activities that will best support it. At the end of the test, you ARE responsible for teaching the English standards for your grade level. If you're given free reign to do as you'd like to teach them, that's awesome. If the standard is describing characters, well that can apply to ALL kinds of texts and it's just about finding engaging texts that your class will want to read... and re-read multiple times sometimes. Look at your interest and who your kids are when selecting the texts. If they're way beyond the students' literacy abilities, they may get frustrated and the lesson will quickly sour.
    And when you start teaching, OVER PLAN! In your lesson plans have activities A,B, and C as back ups to keep the kids actively engaged for the entire block.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 10, 2016

    Understanding by Design might work well for you. It has you start with the standards you need to get your students to master, then work your way backwards through what text works best for you, and then how you want to present it to bring out your standards (hence why it's also called Backwards Design). A quick web search should help you find some basic documents, although I suggest you find the workbooks as well.
     
  6. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Oct 11, 2016

    Understanding By Design is definitely a good one. I'm in teacher education courses right now, and it's one of the main books my classes use, along with The Differentiated Flipped Classroom. I'm in undergrad but we're doing that same activity right now.
     

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