paper vs practice

My lesson last Wednesday (November 5th) went very well – I think it was my best yet!

I was teaching the 30 minute teacher-led lesson before the students broke into their small groups for Daily Five. We were focusing on learning Cause and Effect. Normally, my co-op teacher just puts on an e-book for the students to watch and pauses it to give them a chance to answer questions on individual whiteboards. This strategy works well with the energetic class, but I wanted to try something a little different.

Slipping on a banana peel was an example of cause and effect I showed the students

Slipping on a banana peel was an example of cause and effect I showed the students

My Set consisted of going through a power point that included many different examples of Cause and Effect. I taught the students a new strategy, Whisper-Blow, so that they could answer questions about the examples. Whisper-Blow is a quick and simple classroom management strategy where students whisper their answer into a fist and then blow their answer out as they splay their fingers out from the fist. This worked very well for the students I have, because some of them are very talkative and some are very quiet. Each students gets the same opportunity to answer the questions and there is no risk to being wrong.

After my lesson, my co-op complimented me on Whisper-Blow and said she would use it in the future (which made me VERY happy!). However, she pointed out (as I realized during the middle of my lesson) that while Whisper-Blow is a good classroom management strategy, it is NOT a good gauge of how well students are grasping the material. She suggested using it for a different subject where students already have a solidified knowledge of the content and are just reinforcing it. It maybe wasn’t the best fit for ELA because each lesson indicates for the teacher what should be taught in the next lesson, depending on how well the students understood. Therefore, you need ongoing assessment of student understanding, which Whisper-Blow cannot offer. This experience really showed me that while ideas may look great on paper, they can be very different in practice (not to say Whisper-Blow isn’t a wonderful strategy – it worked awesome! But it just wasn’t the best match for this particular content).

in the Development, I read students a story out loud while it was projected up on the whiteboard. Students were taught actions before the reading that they were to do with me as I read. This was another good strategy so that students were motivated to pay attention to know when to do the correct actions and it allowed students to move a lot, rather than just sitting and listening.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time as I anticipated for my Closure activity, which was a drawing of a Cause and Effect from the story. This assessment piece was important to understanding if the students truly grasped what we had gone over. Overall, though, I was extremely satisfied with my lesson and happy that I tried new approaches than my co-op usually uses.

Tomorrow, I am teaching a Social Studies lessons on the continents Africa and Antarctica. This is, again, going to be during the final period of the day, so I am nervous to see how well the students will be able to pay attention to a content-focused lesson (as previously, they had Art at the end of the day, which is a lot more engaging at the day’s end). I have planned some games to reinforce the content, though, so hopefully that will keep everyone under control and interested. Wish me luck!

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