August 2, 2014
Two days ago, I published the post Out of Focus, in which I described falling flat on my face during one particular lesson in writing. I took my lunch hour to furiously write about my dilemma and meditate in hopes that either one (or both) could help me determine where it was that I went wrong in the execution of the lesson. I was completely out of focus and I couldn’t be, as long as I had other classes to teach. Long story short, I figured out what the problem was and I was able to fix it so that my afternoon classes would not have to suffer the same fate as my morning classes…or so I thought.
Although my afternoon classes did go much smoother after my adjustment, the real test would be the next day when I had to try to re-teach the lesson in which I received no student engagement whatsoever.
In my first class, the lesson went well. One down, one to go.
I bombed, again. I’m still trying to figure out what had happened.
I will lay out the groundwork.
I am teaching my students how to write to persuade. Additionally, I am teaching them the six traits to writing a proficient essay. Each of the next six weeks will be spent closely examining a different trait, last week was Ideas and Concepts.
The easiest way to get students to come up with good ideas is to have a class discussion, but they will only discuss that which is important to them. I thought I had picked a good topic and discussion and I did pick a good topic, at least for three of my four classes. A good topic is one that ultimately ends with a collaborative class discussion, one in which students are throwing out their ideas and opinions and I am playing devil’s advocate. And this did, in fact happen, in three of my four classes. My second hour class just would not be moved.
There I was, trying again, to inspire, motivate, even cajole 29 12 and 13 year olds to voice their opinion. Nothing. Thus, I am left, once again dear Readers, to reflect on what it is that will move my students. I think I may be on to something. Of course, then again, I thought I had solved this little dilemma.
This may take some time, dear Readers. I will have to sleep on this one as I am out of focus…again. Peace, ~v.