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MN, United States
Tutor, Business Owner, Technology innovator

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Short Term work, Long term searching

This is my modus operendi as of late. (my pattern of doing things in other words).  I just got finished with a long term sub position (again!), though this time it was in 8th grade science.  The students really rely on a textbook based work ethic (at least as 7th graders).  So I had the privilege of not only opening up the year to the students, but also rendering lessons without the use of a textbook.

This is something I would encourage ALL teachers (minus subs) to try (if you have the stomach for it, that is).  The reason I say that is because it was extremely hard for the students to accept this, especially from a sub starting the year out (even though the students know me).  By the way, do NOT try any social media toys, until you know crystal clear what the district's policy is on Social Media and Personal Learning Devices.  (I wasn't totally sure, so I made specific restrictions tailored to the district I was in).

I started with Procedures and Expectations (at least for me) of what the start will be and to know what to expected daily and weekly.  I had to scramble given the limited room to plan anything other than routine, and a few days of plans from the resident teacher.  Love & Logic works wonders!  Starting to think in terms of what I want them to know before they dig into a book (and what standards can be knocked on in the process), I began to search the classroom resources and found a "pre-content" unit to use.

Since the students did not have access (or a text) to this topic, I had to organize in a way that enabled them to get a skimming or an overview, with personal anecdotes and experiences tied in.  I found this to be more interesting (and successful) than their textbook counterparts, but worried at the same time that the students weren't getting their "reading" requirements met.  This was a good challenge, for them to pull information from the resources I provided, and to also actively listen more than they had before (to a tradtional lecture format).  The result-- a lot of learning at the knowledge level, but many students wanted to take it so much higher, were I to remain, could have found niches of learning that dug deeper into meaning and satisfy the state (MN) in science at the same time.

whew--I must be done here, else I'd have a novel on the subject.

Til I chalk again,

Mr. Shel

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