Day 15: Teaching Win! #aprilblogaday

Prompt: Share a teaching win!

Yesterday I was complaining to an older wiser friend about the truly crappy 24 hours I was having. 
He sent me the following text:

Tomorrow will contain something of immense beauty or wonder. It may perhaps be very small and fleeting, so you will have to look sharp, but it will be there and remind you of the wonder of life.

Truly, this is an excellent reminder for every day we step into our classrooms. Yesterday was a mess on so many levels. My teaching artist had jury duty so I had to improvise two periods of drama (no pun intended), a student who I don't teach screamed, "I hate you, you fat bitch." I didn't get the message the day before that the mock exam that had been scheduled for Thursday was postponed so when I arrived I had to throw a lesson together, forgot to pack a lunch, etc, was one of those days.

However, in the midst of all of this, I had a teaching win with my co teacher Emily. She and I have been talking a lot about the struggles we have noticed our kids having with vocabulary as they are reading and writing poetry this unit. For half of their summative they will be writing a rondeau, (see: In Flanders Fields). It is a technically challenging poem where students must consider structure, meter and include a refrain.  We also require that the poem be thematically related to WWI, as this is the WWI poetry unit. We did a brief lesson/review of rhyme, how it is different than alliteration, and did some confidence building. I also built in a resource, a rhyming website that organizes words by syllable count, and also provides synonyms and antonyms. There were three planning questions I had created in the graphic organizer they were required to answer before they could check out a laptop about theme, speaker, and intended audience.

Most kids easily completed this initial step. The give or six who struggled, we were able to sit down with them and talk it through, pushing their thinking and engaging their learning. It was a huge teaching win. I think every kid in class yesterday left with a clear map for how to continue with the writing of their rondeaus.


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