Here is a school update :)
Last Friday I was scheduled (at the very, very last minute) to be observed as part of my formal "I'm a new teacher so I need to be observed several times each year to ensure that I'm not destroying the literary competancy of my students" obsesrvation. The only period available for observation? Fifth.
Here's the deal. My fifth period is kind of crazy. Like, monkeys in a banana factory crazy. They are loud and off-task and goofy and immature and generally pains in my rear. They are sweet kids but, good Lord, I would pay so much money to just get them to be quiet and let me teach.
So. Formal observation during fifth period. On a Friday. With only one day to prepare. Awesome. This is totally going to go so well.
So I cobbled together a lesson plan involving a reading quiz, a Think-Pair-Share activity, a worksheet about parallels and conrasts in Of Mice and Men, and some independent work time to let them get caught up in their reading packets.
I prayed for a fire drill. Or a real fire.
Friday rolled around and the kids came in from lunch, sat down, and did their opener - quietly. I passed out their quizzes and they took them - quietly. I collected the quizzes and reviewed the questions. Several students raised their hands to answer and the rest? They sat quietly. We started talking about parallels. I gave some real life examples, and then one or two obvious examples from the text that we have already discussed. I then asked them to think for a minute and write down one more parallel. When they were done, I told them they were going to share their parallels in pairs and then we were going to share them with the class (See? Think. Pair. Share.).
Surely, I thought, this will not go well. This activity will, as numerous activities before, instantly devolve into madness. I stood back and watched....
My students thought quietly for a moment. Then, they turned to their pairs and shared briefly. Then they all looked at me and waited for their turn to share with the class. And then they raised their hands to share! And they shared! We had an amazing discussion, everyone was engaged and participating, and no one spoke out of turn.
It was a little creepy.
When I gave them time for independent work, I reminded them about one page in their packet called the "Chronolog" which was designed to help them review the plot of the story. Victor raised his hand, "Is it in chronological order?"
"It is," I replied. "Does everyone remember what that means from the first week of school?"
And then, as though inspired by angels, the entire class chorused in unison, "The order that events happen in time!"
My post-observation conference was today, after I threatened to rip the gum out of a fifth period student's mouth if she blew another bubble while I tried to teach and made another student sit outside for the duration of the period because he couldn't just sit quietly while we watched the end of Of Mice and Men.
"You are doing an incredible job," my VP said. "I don't have a single recommendation for you."
Oh, come on.
4 days ago