Friday, October 28, 2011

Teaching is Acting

I'm pretty much done with my Holocaust unit. I'm using Thursday of next week to finish up and have my students use all the evidence and resources from the unit to prepare for the Holocaust survivor who is coming in to talk to them. One big thing I need to work on is my "excitement." I was not totally into the Night activity because I knew the students weren't and my mentor teacher said it showed. Also, today I was saying that we needed to hurry up and get done with the presentations because we were going to do a "fun" activity that we needed to get to. My MT said that I should say that to students because then they'll think that some lessons are more important than others. So, basically I need to act like everything I teach is the best lesson ever, which is a lot harder than it seems. However, he made a very good point!

Next week is intercession week and the theme of the week is college. There will be college visits and college related activities. Well, the committee planning the intercession let's just say isn't all together. Only 60 of our 10th graders will be able to go on a visit on Monday. The other 108 will be in the school. My MT told them that the students would be able to go to the college visit on a first come first serve basis. This was Wednesday. On Thursday they were actually lining up at the end of the hall (they aren't able to be in the halls before school starts) waiting for 8:35. Once the bell rang it was mass chaos with people running to the door. Students were falling. It was hilarious but also pretty dangerous. My MT said he's never going to do that again after he got a laugh out.

One of my students is hilarious. I can't even describe his personality because it's just so unique. For one of the lessons the students were presenting sections of Night. If you haven't read the book it's Elie Wiesel's account of surviving the Holocaust. This particular student's section was a part of the train when they were throwing off dead bodies and they wanted to throw out Elie's father because they thought he was dead. When he was talking about getting rid of the dead bodies he described it as "They were throwing them off like KitKats and a bat." I have no idea what that meant... Then later, as he was wrapping his presentation up, he said, "And if you have a father, hug him." It was so funny. Sometimes I just can't keep a straight face.

Today we had an awards assembly for the 10C students (which are our students). We had them all go to the auditorium and the teachers stood on the stage to shake each of their hands. When a students name would be called some of the cheers from the crowd were hilarious. A few kids tripped up the stairs which was kind of funny, no offense to any of them. One of the students I really like, the one who always compliments my clothing, received an award. When she went up she to every teacher, "Love ya!" But when she got to me she goes, "And I really love you!" It was cute. I'm not here to become besties with just a few students, but it's nice to see that students still appreciate me even when I teach them because there are several girls who are really salty at me for actually taking the job seriously.

Today for my first two bells the participated in a fishbowl discussion. In my teaching I love discussions and anything "artsy" so I will definitely be incorporating those in my classroom. However, I wanted to try out the fishbowl to see how it would work. It went so well! I found out after that it might have gone easier than usual because they are used to doing seminars. I adapted the fishbowl discussion to fit my classes and the goal. For example, you are supposed to have students watch another student and take notes on the student. Instead I had students take notes on the discussion and important points. Below is the prezi for the instructions and expectations. It is important for any discussion like this, I believe, to have your expectations on the board the entire time.

They really enjoyed the discussion and I was surprised that they I didn't even have to use my premade list of students because I had volunteers the whole time. One thing I like about the fishbowl discussion is that only the students in the center were able to talk, which kind of annoyed the students on the outside who wanted to say their points but couldn't, which I think helped me have more volunteers. Also, one thing about classroom management is that any sort of disruption to the usual classroom set up can throw off a class and make it difficult to handle. This scared me because usually the class is set up in rows, but I had to have it set up in the fishbowl setting with 8 desks in the center and the rest in a circle around it. The students were actually really good walking into this set up. They were slightly chattier than usual, but it was also partially my fault since I wasn't as prepared second bell.

As I mentioned, next week is intercession so I should have more time to blog, but I might also have less since I really should work on my TPAC for graduation. :/

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