My sophomore Honors English students had just finished reading Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird, and as a transition activity, I had them journal for the first 10-15 minutes of class about these two topics:
Since Part II deals mainly, if not entirely, with the trail in Maycomb, I wanted the students to start thinking about their own lives and experiences–making connections to the book.
After journaling, we discussed their ideas as a class. Many students said they were influenced by family, peers, media, and religion. Some students argued that school was more of an influence than churches/religious establishments solely because students spend the majority of their time in school. Others said that family was a huge influence; some students argued that they had different beliefs than their family members. It was a very lively and interesting discussion!
For the second question, about our justice system, students were almost unanimous on the belief that it was unfair. They talked about things like long sentences to people that don’t deserve it, or vice versa. They talked about how money can play a huge role in someone’s consequences. They even talked about some celebrities and how the media influences the way people feel about the justice system.
I thought this activity worked well to preview what was coming next–a project that compared/contrasted the 1930’s and 1960’s–the setting of the book and the time period when Harper Lee (the author) was writing the book.
Planning for classes became a daily, weekly, and monthly ritual as I started student teaching. As my first placement comes to a close, it’s been exciting to see how far I’ve come from the first day and reflect on my curriculum planning. Continue reading →
Oh boy, being a high school student teacher at age twenty-two, while looking like a high schooler myself, has its challenges for sure! One of those is when a typical teenage boy writes something flirty on the whiteboard for me to see after class. Continue reading →
Planning for my English 10 classes was different–these periods, one and four, I was taking over from the start. I needed to have a plan from day one all the way to my final day, October 16th. Continue reading →
“Who the heck is related to who?” This is what one of my students said to me as we reached one of the final chapters of Part II and were introduced to the Christmas scene. I took a pause out of my lecture/discussion and drew a goofy map on the board. Continue reading →
“How can I make teaching this book interesting?” I said to myself aloud, in the middle of the library, like a crazy person. It was a Sunday night and I was putting together my teaching plans for Monday. My Honors 10 students were just starting Part I of To Kill a Mockingbird and I wanted them to have fun. I needed some inspiration. Continue reading →
Conferences are supposed to be this warm and fuzzy time where you talk to parents about their students, celebrate their successes, discuss areas for growth, and go over the activities and progress made since the first day of school…right? Well, in an ideal world. Conferences aren’t always easy, but today I had a conference experience that really left me speechless. Continue reading →