Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ranting Frustrations and Teaching Seasons & Weather (Gr 6: Ln 3.1:)

I felt like my co-teacher was doing a last-minute lesson plan "ditch" today; she had grand and creative schemes for lesson plans, but is now just concerned with following the textbook simply, so that she can get to her other more pressing work outside of class. Sometimes this annoys- I only have my 9 day EPIK orientation and when I contribute, I come up w/ Powerpoint presentations, innovative teaching methods and last-minute, on-the-spot modifications to sculpting lessons in a way I feel students can relate to. She, on the other hand, has more experience, government funded workshops abroad and a book full of "innovative" exercises she's learned, etc... that she's not implementing.  Still, when we get together to plan a lesson and she wants to hear my ideas, there are moments when my ideas get shot
down by silence, without a word or reason. Just silence, brush what I said under the carpet and continue on with the basic plan. 

Also,  I get to feeling there's something else that's unsaid in the classroom leadership stage that I have to play, which occasionally has to do more with power play than teaching.

Lesson 3.1: Seasons and Weather

1) Warm-up and Review: I'm all for getting the students a bit off the textbook, so I did a last minute push to find a video or Powerpoint presentation, 5 minutes before class (the other alternative was to do a Look & Listen, Listen & Repeat textbook drill otherwise). I found a video that shows Seasons, what you wear for them and weather. Its not a tightly sculpted video but the creator put thought and much effort into making it and it follows the course lesson. I had forgotten to bookmark it on YouTube so I actually showed a different one instead.

2) Show 4 flashcards of the 4 Seasons:
My CT likes to surprise me by throwing me last-minute tasks on the spot when we're in front of the class- like here (take these flashcards), review the vocabulary with the students. To which I'm expected to raise the flashcard and ask-- "What is this? That's right, it's__________" (Next) "What is this? That's right, it's__________"

Kinda boring, right?I keep wondering if my students will hate me for being such a lame drill sargeant! Instead, I delight in taking the challenge and exceeding the expectation.

What do things do they associate with the cards?
This open-ended question spurs a dialogue and creative brainstorming with the students.  It also helps if you can be a bit of a teacher-tainer and charade these things out in an exaggerated way.
a- Show flashcard & have them guess the season
b- Make them pronounce the season correctly
c- Ask them about that season:
  - Was last month Spring?
  - What is the weather in Spring?
  - What do you think about, do or wear in Spring? Name some things when you think of
  - What holidays do you have in Spring?

An interesting takeaway from this exercise:
You get to know how your students think and feel about things or the activities and interests they enjoy (and this can help you curve your lesson planning towards their interests in the future).  Some answers will surprise you- I had one of my 6th graders say they felt "lonely" in fall. Awww... but intense, right?

Incidentally, my co-teacher loved this free association open-answer exercise I played and eventually took over my lead and ran it herself by drawing a brainstorming chart on the board. The exercise was effective.

3) The True-False Game:
It's in the textbook so no genius thrull again, but a slight modification. As a NET--  who wants to explain rules such as "a correct answer= a tap on your table; incorrect answer= clap your hands, etc...?"  Like how many words is that to break down or attempt to explain to your students without confusing them or yourself?

The Simplified version of the game:
-  Split the class into teams (ie A, B, C).
-  Give each student a paper (we had dry erase boards instead & i've been looking for a way to get to use them!)
-  Have them write a game show "O" for Correct, "X" for Wrong.
-  Say your True or False phrase ("I love spring. It snows in spring")
-  Have them raise their answer in the air.
- The team that answers the quickest and has all members with the correct answer, earns a point.

No comments:

Post a Comment