Inspiration

Friday, April 10, 20151:51 PM

A short post today. I'll be away most of the weekend and wanted to keep up my streak.

I'm a bit of a contradiction with planning and organization. I can be super organized and well planned with somethings and am a total mess otherwise. You don't want to try to find something on my desk, for example, but there is one right place for every file in my Drive and every piece of work a student submits. I like procedures and expectations, and I like backwards design. It's tough to teach my students unless I know what I want them to know, do, and learn. You have to know where you're going before you figure out how to get there.

However, sometimes you just need to adapt, adjust, and revise. Sometimes to meet student needs. Sometimes because it feels right. Sometimes because it's just fun.

My next few posts are going to be about times that my students have inspired me to change my lessons and teaching for the better, when their excitement or interest has made me find a better way. This just happened this week.

This week, I introduced argument in my tenth grade class to prepare for the Common Core NYS Regents task 2, which is an argument essay. I had planned a fairly clinical overview of argument: what makes an effective argument?; models and examples; mock debates. Still, the lesson was more about me than the students.

That changed when students started their mock debates. I introduced three SAT-essay prompts, and in groups students prepared arguments and debated. We used polleverywhere.com for students to choose the winner. I planned it as a basic intro but it was fun. The students were creative, innovative, and prepared. When one student took his self-proclaimed "power-stance" in front of the class, started his speech, and opened a slide show of artwork to support his point, I was having fun. And so were they. Even better, they showed an effective start to developing claims and counter claims and supporting them with creative and fun evidence.

After this student finished, I had a realization--I WANT TO FILM THESE! I thought about pulling out my iPhone but thought it would throw off the work in the moment. I wanted more preparation, thought, and even some production. And so was born the Argument Video Assignment...and I got excited and re-inspired by my students and teaching. Next week, I'll share the results.

I started by saying this would be a short post. Oh, well. Next time.

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