Something I learned this week was that the needs of the students often will take me out of my comfort zone and the best planned lessons are often needed to be thrown out the window so I can go with the flow.
My grade 7 French class is the prefect example. We are continuously changing teaching styles and methods to help the students. After about a month, we merged two classes and one of the other teachers and I decided to team teach music to our groups. I came up with a project called “Why Learn French?” and we had the kids use a modified version of the Design Thinking process.
We started working on our next topic of people around us. We are working on I am/I have/I like statements. We also are working on questions. Keeping that many students who have an audience to their antics on task has been a struggle. After a mini lesson to the whole class, I took 4 students out to the hall to dig a bit deeper into French sentence structure. This group grew to about 15 so we found an open room and set to work. I had 15 students wanting to learn parts of a sentence, how to properly ask questions and the difference between “Vous” and “Tu”. I was completely unprepared to do this lesson with them but they were hungry for learning. They really got to work. Less work was done than with the other group however, the quality was there and that is what counts.
I am fortunate that the teacher I teach French 7 will roll with my ideas and my students are willing to challenge me.
In the past, my best lessons have come from being uncomfortable. In my first practicum, I was given the task of teaching Grade 5s Badminton. I was scared. I am not a Phys Ed person. I know how much I hate Badminton, so I decided why not make it fun! I brought in the love of Angry Birds that my students had and our mini-unit became themed around Angry Birds. The kids loved it! I loved it. You can check out my unit plan here.
Hopefully I can continue to push myself to where I am uncomfortable to bring out some of the best learning experiences for my students and myself. I dislike the phrase “Why invent the wheel?” because it doesn’t allow for growth. I say, at the very least, we should improve the wheel! Change it, shape it and try something new with it. With that being said, I fully admit that quite often, I just use the wheel as is because sometimes it works and it is what is needed.