Teaching a sample lesson as a second interview, HELP!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Threnody, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Threnody

    Threnody Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Hello everyone! :)

    I applied for a job as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher, and had my first interview on Wednesday. On Friday evening I got a call from the school inviting me to give a sample lesson to a class of my potential students on Monday. The interviewers, of course, will be observing.

    I'm a bit nervous because I'm a recent college graduate without classroom experience, so I'm hoping that by placing my lesson plan here, some more experienced teachers could give me feedback. I'd be very grateful! ;)

    Here's what I've got:

    I'd begin the lesson with a quick introduction and a vocabulary activity. The vocabulary words and their definitions would be displayed on the board through the LCD projector, and the students would write them down and come up with a unique sentence for each. After that, I would ask a few students to share one of their sentences so that the students would have two examples sentences for each word.

    These words would be taken from 'The Tell-Tale Heart' by Edgar Allen Poe, which we would read in class. One student would read a sentence out loud, followed by the student sitting behind him/her, so that each student will have had multiple turns by the story's end.

    Following the reading, I would lead the class in a literary analysis exercise. I have a story frame worksheet that we would fill out together to guide the class discussion. It covers main character, setting, cause and effect, etc.

    My back-up activity if I run out of time is to divide the class into groups or pairs to create storyboards, for which I have a template.

    Does this sound like a reasonable sample lesson? How could I improve upon it? Should I scrap it altogether? All feedback will be appreciated! :D
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Do you have time to read the whole story?

    And are you sure you want to spend time you COULD spend interacting with the kids having them read such a long story?

    I think you want to show yourself interacting with the kids more than having them read aloud.

    And what's the point of your lesson-- Vocab or the story? It seems that, with limited time, you're dividing your energies.

    Finally, having the kids read in order means that, once my turn is over, I can zone out for a while, with no fear of being called on.

    Please don't feel I'm being too critical. I just honestly think you can come up with somethign that will better illustrate your talent in the classroom.
     
  4. Threnody

    Threnody Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Those are some very good points: I don't want to come across as scattered, and I certainly don't want to give the kids a license to zone out!

    So you think I should do less in-class reading and just choose one lesson point? I'll be teaching in a 50 minute class period, but was told that I don't have to fill in the entire time. I suppose that 'Tell-Tale Heart' is too long to read in one sitting without the kids getting distracted...

    What if I were to choose a much shorter piece, such as 'O Captain! My Captain!', and then direct a discourse in which we examine the content, form, structure, and style? I have a core analysis frame to use as a guideline.

    As an activity, I could then ask the students to get into groups and illustrate the poem.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2011

    I'm SO out of my element here, since I teach math.

    But why not take a look at the FL standards for the grade you'll be working with?

    I bet there's something on personificaiton or foreshadowing or something. If you want to use Poe, with Halloween approaching, you could do The Raven or something a bit shorter to read.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Is there anything here?
    The student will:
    LA.8.2.1.1 - identify, analyze, and compare the characteristics of various genres (e.g., poetry, fiction, short
    story, dramatic literature) as forms chosen by an author to accomplish a purpose;
    LA.8.2.1.2 - locate and analyze elements of characterization, setting, and plot, including rising action,
    conflict, resolution, theme, and other literary elements as appropriate in a variety of fiction;

    LA.8.2.1.3 - locate various literary devices (e.g., sound, meter, figurative and descriptive language),
    graphics, and structure and analyze how they contribute to mood and meaning in poetry;

    LA.8.2.1.4 - identify and analyze universal themes and symbols across genres and historical periods, and
    explain their significance;
    LA.8.2.1.5 - develop an interpretation of a selection and support through sustained use of examples and
    contextual evidence;
    LA.8.2.1.6 - compare literary texts that express a universal theme, providing textual evidence (e.g.,
    examples, details, quotations) as support for the identified theme;
    LA.8.2.1.7
    - locate and analyze an author’s use of allusions and descriptive, idiomatic, and figurative
    language in a variety of literary text, identifying how word choice is used to appeal to the
    reader’s senses and emotions, providing evidence from text to support the analysis;

    LA.8.2.1.8 - explain how ideas, values, and themes of a literary work often reflect the historical period in
    which it was written;
    LA.8.2.1.9 - describe changes in the English language over time, and support these descriptions with
    examples of literary texts; and
     
  7. Threnody

    Threnody Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Oh, I looked at the standards very carefully. I just couldn't find any help on the Florida Department of Education website on what stories/poems to use. I used Classzone to get an idea of what 8th graders read by picking from the list in McDougal Littell Literature, Grade 8.

    Thanks for the feedback, AliceaCC! :)
     
  8. Threnody

    Threnody Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Yep, that's all useful! I was able to find a pdf file of the standards that I've been staring at all day. The ones you put in bold are some of the ones I'll be concentrating on. You'd probably do well in Language Arts. ;)
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2011

    Thanks. As much as I love reading and writing, I think I'll leave the teaching of grammar to my husband. I recognize good grammar, but don't know a preposition from a gerund.

    Though I would love to know enough American History to teach it.

    Anyway, best of luck with your lesson Monday. (I just realized it's Monday-- you're not off for Columbus Day?)
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We're not off for Columbus Day either :(

    As for the lesson, I completely agree with Alice. I just did an activity that my kids LOVED! I cut out a bunch of pictures from magazines that didn't have recognizable people in them. Then we reviewed the plot chart (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution). Then I split them into groups of 5 and each person chose a picture. Then each person wrote the exposition about their picture then passed it one to the left, then the next person read it and added the rising action, etc... until they had a whole 5 paragraph story. The kids said it was the best class they've had all year out of all their classes and are already bugging me to do it again :lol:
     
  11. Threnody

    Threnody Rookie

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    Oct 8, 2011

    A google search returned several results on lessons incorporating 'O Captain, My Captain.' If I just add background information on Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln (to what I already have) before we read the poem, I've got a tried and true lesson plan on my hands.

    Then again... dgpiaffeteach, that idea is unique and FUN. Thanks for sharing! The kids would like it a lot more, be more likely to stay on task, and it could set me apart from the competition. I would add the task of incorporating 5 new vocabulary words into their writing, a different one for each paragraph, just so I can fulfill another standard. :p

    Hmm... now I'm torn. I'm going to write up a plan for both and then sleep on it. LOL

    tl;dr I don't know whether to play it safe or make a splash.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2011

    Safe is scary. Anything you found on Google may also have been found by the competition. At the very least, do some major tweaks.
     
  13. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Oct 9, 2011

    I did a demo lesson recently. The best advice I can give you is pick a state standard that can be accomplished in one lesson (ie. recognizing main idea). Plan your lesson about having your students be able to pick up main idea (or whatever skill you choose) by the end of your lesson. Then have a mini assessment at the end to show to your committee that you actually taught the students something by being there.

    The Captain, O Captain poems sounds ok, but may be too general. What state standard will the students learn by the end of the lesson? Also, do you know these students reading level?
    In the Title I school I just got hired to teach in, our 8th graders are a below grade level and would not understand that poem. Good luck!
     
  14. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

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    Oct 9, 2011

    In my opinion, safe is . . . safe. But, you're trying to out-do your competition and get a job. You want to have the lesson that is remembered, not safe. You want to find ways to interact with students and make a connection. You want your students to learn vocabulary, writing skills and grammar - not forget the lesson as they walk out the door. You want those on your interview panel to think, "wow, not only did I learn something and practice a skill, but I was engaged and excited to learn." I guess I personally feel that by playing it "safe" your not necessarily showing your creative skills, energy and excitement for teaching. We all end up with days where are lessons flop and kids aren't as engaged as we'd like, but our students never forget those really cool lessons where they learned something and were excited. Think about your own 8th grade year - do you remember any particular lessons?! Build off of that and create a lessons that wows the panel and gets you the job!
     
  15. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Oct 9, 2011

    How long is the class? Maximum time for reading should be 20 minutes. Educators are looking for you to teach a concept that will appear on a standardized test/college courses.

    I would focus on ONE aspect of 'Tell-Tale Heart,' namely Mood. The lesson should revolve around Mood. Tie in the vocab words to Mood. What might the vocab words tell us about the mood of the story? (Anticipatory Set)
    Have children act out random mood words written on an index card. Then go into the reading. Ask them to identify passages that convey the Mood.
    Write down one of our earlier vocab words in a sentence. Pair up. Check one another's sentences. (Gives them a chance to talk)

    Don't call on the same kids all the time. Pick different ones. Don't answer children who call out without hands raised.
     
  16. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Oct 9, 2011

    I think you're trying to fit way too much into one class. Pick one objective that the students should meet by the end of the class, and then plan the lesson around it. Make sure you assess whether the students got the objective. (Note: an objective is a small part of a standard. There's no way you can use more than one of those standards Alice posted for just one lesson!)

    The interviewers will be looking at how you relate to the students, how you deal with students who are off-task, and how well you get the students to meet the objective. They also want to get an idea of how you would normally teach the class. When I had to do one of these interviews, I taught a lab because I'm big on hands-on learning in science. What is your philosophy for teaching and learning English?
     
  17. Jlyn07

    Jlyn07 Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2011

    I hope you've decided against 'The Tell Tale Heart' just because of time. Eighth graders at my school have a whole unit on Poe that starts with the background so they have some insight on why his writing is the way it is and then they read 'Tell Tale' over several class periods. Even though they're in 8th grade, you need to take it slow and go over a lot of what Poe is saying; he wrote very differently than what they are used to.

    I agree with Dynamite - interact with the students and make it fun for them. If the students are paying attention and contributing to your lesson it will be much easier for you. Take something simple, such as vocabulary or a reading strategy, that doesn't need a lot of background and make it fun!

    Good luck!
     
  18. Jlyn07

    Jlyn07 Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2011

    This is a great idea!
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 10, 2011

    Good luck today!
     
  20. penguinpc

    penguinpc Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2011

    Hope it went well.
     
  21. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

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    Oct 10, 2011

    How'd it go?!
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 12, 2011

    are you saying 20 minutes of reading time for an observation or in a regular class? My district goal is 35 minutes of sustained independent reading during our daily workshop...in THIRD grade.
     
  23. Threnody

    Threnody Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Thanks for your advice, everyone!

    I chose 'O Captain, My Captain' because it was relatively short, so that gave me time to give them background information. I used the poem to teach them about literal language, figurative language, symbol, and analogy.

    I didn't get the Language Arts teaching position...

    BUT! They liked my lesson plan and my teaching so much that they hired me to teach 7th grade Science! :D

    ...but I'm not certified to teach Science. For now I'll be a continuous substitute until I pass the Middle Grades General Science 5-9 test, which I'm already studying for.

    Lesson learned: if I hadn't played it too safe, I could have gotten the other job. Ah well. I'm just happy to be hired. :)


    tl;dr I somehow got a Science teaching job instead.
     
  24. poetsmuse

    poetsmuse New Member

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    May 4, 2013

    New here, dgpiaffeteach I might borrow your lesson - advice?

    I've been asked to come back to do a demo lesson this Tuesday for an 8th grade English class on writing. I have 50 minutes.. do you think this lesson would be appropriate? Do you have any advice?
    Thank you so very much! :):thanks:
     
  25. poetsmuse

    poetsmuse New Member

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    Thank you for your response

    that is awesome that you covered all those points in 15 mins!
    I actually have a 50 minute lesson to do :dizzy:
     
  26. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I think it would work great. I've done it with multiple grade levels.

    We started with reviewing a plot to a children's story. That helped remind them of the pieces. Then I turned them loose to write. I timed each section for them by eyeballing how they were doing.
     

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