Yet in spite of this overriding goal, I struggle with how to start class right off without seeming abrupt. I want to say hello and how are you to my students -- I haven't seen many of them since the day before. But transitioning to the lesson can be stilted. I have a new idea for this coming year. Occasionally, I am going to play short YouTube vidoes as they are entering class. They do not have to settle and listen right away, but as the start of class approaches, I hope they start to pay attention. We may or may not discuss the video -- we'll see how it goes. What I hope to achieve is a small moment of music or video or art that connects to that day's lesson -- a moment when things go beyond the books in our hands. I have found so far this video for our first discussion day of East of Eden, this video for our work with Candide, and this video as we are starting Brave New World. The Steinbeck song is catchy enough that I may have to buy the CD!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Those Crucial First Minutes
I have always wanted my students to know I value every second of our time together. When they understand this, the issue of tardies usually disappears because they know they have to get to my class on time because I am starting and I will mark them tardy for missing something good. While this is certainly a nice benefit, the real reason I want them to know how much I value classtime is because I want THEM to value every minute we have together for learning and sharing. Just as writing alongside my students makes them care more about their own writing, caring about my time with them can make them care more. This is why lesson planning is so important -- I am showing my students that I will work just as hard as I am asking them to work, and we will have fun doing it together.