Gave up on my class today

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Unbeknownst, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Oct 6, 2010

    Well, give us an idea of how that looks in your classroom. Who's doing the reading? You? The kids? Are they reading aloud, or is it silent?

    This is what I do when I read a novel. Granted, I teach in a French Immersion class, so I have to focus a little more on vocab and grammar to REALLY be sure they understand but here goes:

    I break my novel up into 3 chapter groups. At the beginning of every 3 chapters, they get vocab for those 3 chapters, in context. I ask them to try and figure out what the word means based on the context given. We then discuss, and together we write the correct definition.

    Sometimes I read to the kids. Because it's an immersion class, it's important for them to have a model for accent, pronunciation, etc. Sometimes I have them read aloud as a class, with each person taking a paragraph. Sometimes I have them read aloud in small groups. If I have them read silently, it's usually to finish a chapter for homework. We stop regularly to discuss what we have read and to make sure we all understand what is going on. While we read, the students have comprehension questions that they answer (basic recall questions). At the end of every three chapters, the students have a writing assignment where they have to reflect on the theme or what they would have done in a similar situation, etc.

    I usually give a quiz after every 6 chapters (it's an 18 chapter book).

    Our novel is about time travel, so at the end of the novel, we watch Back to the Future. They then have to compare and contrast the movie and the book.
     
  2. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 6, 2010

    Unbe~do not beat yourself up. I agree with what other posters have suggested, and hope that you can try them out. I would like to add:

    ~have a discussion with the class about what an effective classroom looks like (engaged, students participating, able to have more freedom) and what an ineffective class looks like (textbook work, quiet, in their seats unless permission granted). Have a student write these on a board or have groups work to come up with some and then share whole class. Ask students which classroom they would rather be a part of. Tell them that at any time they are disruptive the classroom will become like classroom B.

    ~If you're having a hard time teaching the material in the novels, grab a copy of Cliff Notes on those novels. Go through and pick up on important information they share and use that as a basis for your teaching.

    ~as far as lesson planning, google Madaline Hunter. Her lesson plan cycle is GREAT! And was what we used in our education classes during college and really helped focus our teaching.
     
  3. worrywart

    worrywart Companion

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    Oct 6, 2010

    Give the kids an assignment of working with a partner and coming up with 10 quiz questions per group over the reading..short answer, true false, etc. Then take the questions and some of your own and play a review game. Have 2 teams line up and I usually put a beanie or something on a chair and one from each team comes at a time. Read the question and whoever picks up the beanie first gets to answer for their team.

    Instead of a formal lesson plan, maybe it would be easier to just list an agenda of 3 or 4 things that you will do during the period..warmup, go over HW, talk about chapter, paragraph on xyz...

    It is a lot of work..especially if you do not have someone to help or other plans to use for ideas. Good luck and next year will be much better.
     
  4. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2010

    I remember being annoyed by kids talking in class (as a student). One of the nicest teachers in the world just snapped one day at these talking kids. Literally, threw his marker at the white board and screamed at the top of his lungs about respect.

    It was so out of character for him, no one had ever seen him rage before. Needless to say, it was quiet after that for quite a while. Then he perfected the art of as he was talking, walking up to the talkers and getting down to their level and he would eventually just stop talking and stare at them. When they noticed they were embarrassed and he would have a witty remark about him showing the level of respect to their talking as he expected of them to his.

    I'm just saying this because everyone has a breaking point. You choose how to let it affect you. You can either give up, or fight through it.

    You sound like someone that genuinely cares, I'd hate to see you give up.
     
  5. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2010

    Could you do some graphic organizers to go with the novel? I have templates I can send you if you want. It usually helps my kids keep track of what we read and the important things to remember.

    What about doing a character journal? I've had kids made their own little booklets, and then every couple chapters, have them "journal" as if they were a certain character in the novel.

    Try to add just a little something extra besides reading and quizzes.
     
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 7, 2010

    What is your focus for this novel? Motifs? Characterization? Plot? Theme? Author's Purpose? What?

    I taught TKAM about 15 years ago, but what from remember activities which I did....
    -A reenactment of the trial.
    -I assigned students research projects about the Historical Context of the Novel including Jim Crow Laws, Brown v. Board of Ed., the Scottsboro Cases, etc. It's impossible to teach this book effectively without first dealing with the History.
    -Have you tried out Socratic Seminars? I set it up so that each circle would have one large over-arching question and within this question they would have certain sub-questions. I would assign the questions as homework the week before and then I would collect and grade them. I noticed when I did this the discussions would be better because they 1) already knew the questions and 2) were thoroughly prepared. Generally, I would have about 5 questions and each sentence required about a 4-5 sentence answer and needed to include quotes. I also graded the actual Seminars basically for participation and staying focused on the questions.
    -I showed the movie as we completed each chapter, the original black and white movie.
     
  7. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Oct 7, 2010

    Nothing. But that is going to change. That's what this time off is going to be all about -- getting back on my horse.

    I think the examples you gave are great; I might work in some of the stuff you suggested. Thank you Brendan.

    I'm already feeling fresher and a clarity of mind that I haven't had in a long time. These personal days are exactly what I needed.

    Thank you all for what you do, both on this forum and in the lives of your students every day. You a truly a blessing to all that have you in their classroom.

    --Unbeknownst
     
  8. stargirl

    stargirl Companion

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    Oct 7, 2010

    I'm coming from a bit of a different perspective, as an elementary school teacher, but just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I felt just the same way you did my first year or so of teaching...I wanted so badly to be successful but felt so clueless when it came to preparing actual lesson plans...I really feel that my college classes did NOT do a good job in training me to do so. I knew that my "lesson" should be more than just trying to stretch out the completion of a worksheet, but struggled with how to actually teach the material.

    I agree with a previous poster, rather than trying for a typical lesson plan, why not just make a numbered list of things the students/you will do over the course of each class (honestly, that is what I do now when I plan, after close to 10 years of teaching).
    It could be as simple as: 1) ask the kids some sort of question that would dig up background knowledge about whatever they will be reading that day and have them respond in writing while you time them 2 minutes on a timer, then share a few responses (tell them these responses will be collected as a "classwork" grade--that might motivate them a bit as it seems an easy way to earn a few points 2) introduced the basic idea of the day's reading, have them read it with a partner sitting next to them--if you can find a audio recording for them to listen to, that would be great 3)have them fill out a graphic organizer or answer a few basic questions to check their overall understanding of plot/events

    While this might seem really basic, it will get your class into the mode of learning and you will be covering material.
     
  9. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2010

    Unbe,

    My suggestions, first take a deep breath. it will all be okay. Second, continue to seek help here. The teachers here are fantastic, and more than willing to help.

    Next, seriously look into Whole Brain Teaching. It is all free and tailor made to help you with what you are struggling with. Also look into works by a teacher called Rick Wormeli.

    Next, when planning your lessons remember that you need to change up what you are doing every few minutes. The rule of thumb is that students have an attention span roughly equivalent to their ages. You might go a little shorter with these guys if they are really low. Look at making your period modular. You want to accomplish your goal for the day, and go through as many of your segments as you can, but question your students frequently to test their understanding. Sacrifice getting through your modules for them understanding. Here is an example:

    OP means “on paper” or something they should write down.

    OP- Summarize what we learned yesterday in two sentences (5 min)

    Discuss their summaries, call on several kids (5-10 min)

    Review challenging vocabulary (5 min)

    Read for ten minutes (10 min)

    Discussion- What just happened? (5 min)

    OP- Just Imagine- “Just imagine I knew nothing about this book. In two sentences I want you to tell me the most important ideas we just read. This is your opinion. There are no wrong answers here. Go!” (5 min)

    Discussion- have four or five volunteers share what their ideas on the most important events were (10 min)

    OP- Make a T table. One side says “pilot” the other says “cowboy”. Was Atticus Finch more like a pilot or more like a cowboy? List the ways he was like each one, discuss it with a partner, be ready to explain and defend your opinion.

    Just a couple of examples. I will help if you need more. PM me.
     

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