Random vs. Agenda-Driven Lessons

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m starting the day doing lesson plans before the big meal….what the hell! I’m going with the muse. I’d like to not have to think about them again for the rest of the holiday weekend.

I’ve decided to go back to using five random words as the writing prompt for my class “do now” (a writing warm up) if for no other reason that the students enjoy it. It’s a good showcase/workshop for the more talented students, and for the less literary ones, they feel less pressure and relax with the writing. It’s kind of a fun moment during class and the students really listen to each other.

Using a quote and asking them to make connections is good, but for the more intense work we’re doing now (involving analyzing quotes and connecting it to plot events in Fahrenheit 451), 5 random words seem lighter, and more fun….it just feels like less pressure and more comfortable.

I want these kids to trust that writing can be fun. They are smart and can smell agendas (be they teacher, school, or common-core driven ones) and I feel like they liked the 5 random words better. It was more about them, and what they brought to the table. Later on, we can hit them with drills, skills, and toss around some analysis.

Keeping what works and tweaking it, then backtracking. It is what it is.

Anyway, Fahrenheit 451 is a mindblower and, having finally read and finished it for the first time ever, the book and these kids are making me realize how far technology has advanced as well as how far-reaching the implications for privacy (the fourth amendment comes into play, etc.).

Having a Global Studies/History teacher with special education qualifications is fantastic, we were given great students this year, and I’m so thankful for both of these things so I’m stepping up my game. It’s true that when professional support is provided, teachers want to rise to the challenge, and the students benefit. It’s really the best environment. It varies wildly year by year (last year was nothing like this for me), but if it could be like this every year, I might want to stay in teaching.

Alright, well Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Enjoy the day and have a beautiful weekend.

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