Which electives should I teache next year?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Linguist92021, May 18, 2013.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 18, 2013

    This year I'm teaching 2 class periods of geography. These are actually requirements, but we give students electives credit. Either way, I wasn't supposed to teach them, so after I finish this year I have to chose something else. My credential is English, and my P offered me to get certified in Social Studies, it's not the CSET I would take, it's a class they would pay for, and it would authorize me to teach social studies in alternative school settings.
    It would be worth it for the geography portion, but I wouldn't want to get stuck teaching history later. I dislike history as a subject, I'm not good at it, and it would be a disservice to students if I taught it (history, geography would be fine).

    So we were brainstorming, and we came up with one option, but I want to brainstorm more before I commit. It can be anything, I can create my own course as well.

    option 1. Current events.
    Students: it would be very beneficial for them, because most students don't know what's happening around the world, or even in this country. One student told me she though the Boston and Texas bombings were done by North Koreans. :dizzy:
    Curriculum: we would watch the news (either CBS national news, or the CNN student news), discuss, I would chose 2-3 topics, we would research it in depth, discuss, write about it, etc. If students miss classes, make up work or even extra credit can be easily arranged. This could be interesting for the students, could go in a lot of directions, I can tailor things to their interest level as well.
    Me: Obviously I want to consider how much work would be involved, why make it harder for myself if I don't have to? Grading would be easy, planning wouldn't be hard, although I couldn't plan ahead. I would have to watch the news every night (online) and pick topics, print them, or look for additional videos, etc. Maybe I could chose 1-2 main topics and use those during the week, then I'd just have to watch the news at night or in the morning.
    1 thing concerns me: if I have problems with my internet one day the main component is lost. I can have back up options, but I feel like it's a waste of time and paper to prepare for plan B every day and it might happen 1 / month.

    Option 2: credit recovery
    I haven't discussed this with my P, I just thought of this yesterday.
    Students:This would be highly beneficial to students, because most of them are behind on credit.
    Curriculum: I'd have to look at their transcript and figure out what they need. I'd have to get books in the appropriate subjects (wouldn't be a problem), students would be working independently during the entire period. They would turn their work in. Behaviorally it could go either way. They could be awesome, working at their own pace, but I could also have problems such as students trying to sleep or talk, etc. Could become boring for them after a while, there is no way to make it more interesting.
    Me: Not a lot of planning involved, but the grading would definitely make up for it. I would have to be able to help students in math, science, in every subject. I guess this can be helped if I have the teacher edition books.

    I can't quite decide. I think I like option 1 more, but haven't decided. Does any one have any other ideas?

    Also I can teach 1 elective for 1 quarter, and then the other or something else next quarter, or I can keep it the same.
     
  2.  
  3. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    66

    May 18, 2013

    Current events sounds like a lot of fun! I want to do that!!!!
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 18, 2013

    That's what I was thinking, but I want to explore my options. My P said that one teacher taught 'Intro to green studies" and it was a lot of fun for the students, they learned a lot, but it was a TON of prepping. I tend to overdo things, so I want to make things easier for me and not chose something that will add to my pile of work. Next year will be my true first year, this was just a nice little 'appetizer' :) And next year I'm starting BTSA, so I know it won't be easy.
     
  5. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,372
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 18, 2013

    What about something like "Exploring Careers"? Pick a different career field each week to learn more about, and then for a final project, students can do more extended research on a career that interests them.
     
  6. kme93

    kme93 Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 19, 2013

    I teach a class in the summer called "Life Skills". Here are some of the things we do in class:

    1. Financial Literacy - balancing checkbooks, budgeting... The students pick jobs and have to research the salary and education required. Then, they have to look on the internet and in the newspaper to find a place to live and a car to live in their budget.

    2. Planning - using a planner and calendar (you'd actually be surprised how many kids need this...)

    3. They have to choose and read an appropriate book - for pleasure. I give them time to read in class. If they are halfway into a book and decide to read a new book, fine.

    We do a few other little things, but these are the big ideas.
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,429
    Likes Received:
    602

    May 19, 2013

    What about a film as literature course? Several states and districts have curriculum already written, so you wodnt be reinventing the wheel on it.
     
  8. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 19, 2013

    We have a credit recovery class, which is done online in the computer lab. While its really helpful to those students who just had a bad semester, most of the students aren't doing the work and finishing the second time around, either.

    I always joke with one boss that I'd like an air guitar elective. He just laughs ands pats me on the shoulder :lol:
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 19, 2013

    These are great ideas! Lots to think about!
    Life skills classes: one of the previous teacher taught it, my P mentioned it. She also said it can be a tone of prep, because there is no curriculum for it. We have textbooks for them, but they're pretty dated, and they're middle school level. a lot of the students are still at the school who were in that class, and they might be expecting that we'll cook in the classes, etc, like they used to do. There is no way I'll attempt cooking in there :) classroom is not set up for that.
    So I don't know.

    Chebrutta: so the kids aren't doing the work they're supposed to? That would be one of my worries, that I couldn't really motivate them, since it's all inndependent work. Some might just chose to sit there and sleep. On the other hand in one class all they do is independent work, most of them sit there, talk and do their work. Maybe I should my P what she thinks.

    Flim as literature: Oh I would LOVE that!!! I like to incorporate movies into my English classes and I'm really good at tying them to the curriculum. We have one huge problem though, and I hope it gets fixed soon. We have very limited options of movies we can show. The movies have to be approved and owned by our school. They said we cannot use Netflix streaming because that's a copyright violation, the movies are supposed to be shown privately, not for public viewing, etc. Our district takes this very seriously. And on top of it our district has most of the movies on VHS tapes! , but they're on their way to converting them to dvds.
    So here is how it works: The movie Radio is on the approved list, but they have it on VHS. I could stream it from Netflix, but that would be a violation. If I buy the tape and OWN it, then I can show it. Crazy, huh?
    There are lot of movies I want to put on the list, for example Ben Carson: Gifted Hands (G), Miracle Worker - Helen Keller story (PG) and I couldn't even show these unless they're on the list and I owned the dvds. (I don't feel like messing with a VHS tape with a small tv if I can use the projector). So paying $20 / month for Netflix is no longer a benefit.
     
  10. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    2

    May 19, 2013

    I like the "exploring careers" and "life skills" ideas. Although, I have to tell you that "life skills" around here in an academic setting refers to a program for moderate to severe special education students.

    It's a shame that kids don't learn practical skills in school anymore. My MIL was telling me that in high school they discussed how to dress on job interviews, how to make the bed (and no one makes a bed as perfectly as my MIL!), cook, clean, etc. The boys had "shop" classes and came out learning how to fix cars and around the house fix it stuff. They just don't do that in most schools anymore.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,429
    Likes Received:
    602

    May 19, 2013

    That's a shame about the lack of resources (and autonomy.) I turned in a list years ago when I first created the class. I occasionally veer from my original syllabus, and I just email our AP and let her know what I'm showing. I never show something rated R, and mostly stick to movies made under the production code, or movies rated PG. I own all of the movie I show, though many of them are digital copies from Amazon. I showed a movie from Netflix one time, because my DVD was badly scratched, and I didn't realize until it was time to watch it. I have since bought a digital copy, so no worries. I teach more of a film studies course than film as lit, but either one would be a blast to teach. I love seeing their reactions when we watch some of the classics they've never seen before.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 22, 2013

    I'm sort of trying out the Current event class, but in a very simple way. We only have this week (4 days, we have off Friday), next week (4 days) and 3 days on the last week, all minimum day, and the last day is really just handing out report cards + have a barbeque.
    Most of the stdent seemed to have shut down, and based on what I'm getting from the teachers, and even from the P the goal is to make sure kids come to school, do 'some' work, and not misbehave too badly, not have fights, etc. At this point behavior usually is the worst, and they don't care about consequences.

    So in my English classes we're done with the regular curriculum, and I'm just doing daily lessons (and grade them every day). We do grammar in some classes, but 3 classes have been watching the news, take notes and discuss. Because they have been doing very well (lots of notes, paying attention, not sleeping / talking I let them talk for 10 minutes afterwards.

    Here are my concerns:
    - internet. everything was great, but then in 6th period I couldn't show anything (this was actually a Geography class, and was going to show 3 youtube clips that supplemened the lesson). Today during 4th period, internet slowed way down, could finish showing the news. I was not happy. So if this is going to be a problem, an internet based class won't be working too well.
    - monotony. The past 2 days the only thing on the news is the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I'm not complaining (and only 2 students complained), but how much notes can they take? I gave them some supplemental questions, showed them how tornadoes are forming, etc. I'm just worried that there will be time periods when 1 thing will be a focus for 1 week, and the students wil lose interest, especially if it's something political, etc.
    This is not a big concern, but noticed.

    Positives:
    - planning won't be that hard. I can watch the news at night, or in the morning and think of something to elaborate on. I thought it would take longer.
    - I've been showing the CBS evening news, which is 22 minutes, it takes longer, and normally there are about 5-7 new stories in depth. The CNN student news is only 10 minutes and very simplified, it would need more follow up. I guess I could switch back and forth.

    So I think this could work, but the internet signal worries me :(
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    May 23, 2013

    Yeah, it really depends on the kid. Some bang it out quick so they can get back into their elective; some end up not finishing and have to repeat the grade the next year.
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    May 23, 2013

    Throwing this out there- Could you talk to your students and see what type of course they'd like to do?

    My 6th graders gave a lot of feedback saying they wanted to do forensic science- CSI type stuff- so I developed a curriculum for this school year and they loved it. :)
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 23, 2013

    I thought about asking them, but I won't have a lot of them next year. A lot of students will go back to their regular shools (they were expelled for this year only), but I think we'll have half, or 40 % of them stay.

    I think they would opt for theone with the least amount of work, especially right now they can't even think straight. We only have 7 days of school left, they have completely checked out.
    I had problems with the videos again in one class, it wasn't even the internet, something crashed in my laptop, so I couldn't show youtube, or any videos, but the internet itself was ok.
    I definitely don't want to deal with this problem next year :(
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    1,148

    May 30, 2013

    Ok I think I figured it out. Next year my Internet will be hard wired, not wireless, so I shouldn't have connection issues. Also I can download Quickplayer Pro ($30) and then I can download and save the CNN student news, just in case Internet goes out. Besides having students watch the news, take notes and discuss, I will choose a topic from the news for which they will write a persuasive paragraph, only about 5 sentences or so, but it has a certain structure.
    We did that yesterday and in all classes it took almost them entire 48 minutes of class time. I know in time they'll get better at it, but then I can give the a different writing assignment, or something in a different direction.
    So overall I feel good about this. It won't a lot of planning, beneficial to the students and I can change it up if I need to.
     
  17. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    66

    May 30, 2013

    Sounds like a plan!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Monika Mehra,
  2. Iris1001
Total: 468 (members: 3, guests: 441, robots: 24)
test