Blocks of Three

The 10’s were on deck today. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from my first day of registration, so I shadowed a fellow teacher to observe the process. It was really great to be on the front line and greet the students as they came in. Because of the last two years of subbing, I had probably taught over 70% of the students that were lining up wide-eyed and a little confused as they trickled through the gym. There were occasional glances and questions of how or where they remembered me, and of course some who recognized me right away as the guy who voted one of them off the island or some strange lesson I taught. When I didn’t get a job straight out of university, I was a little discouraged, but the two years of subbing allowed me to meet so many different students in the division, and now I get a chance to shape at least a small part of their high school career.

I wanted to start my third block with a little pop, so I started plugging away on a few slides for Notebook. A couple of spinning letters and shrink and grow graphics. I wanted to make a few erase and reveal statements, so I decided to turn on the SmartBoard. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, and I still had over half an hour before they arrived, but of course the screen did not switch to my computer. I unplugged everything and replugged it. I tried two different computers. I tried two different connecting cords, yet still nothing but a blue screen. Alas, my grand plan of kids doodling their interpretations of the six strands of English digitally went quickly down the tubes, but luckily, I still keep some crayons about and grabbed 11X17 paper from the work room, so there would be a lesson still ready to go.

I really considered the idea that people can only pay attention for less than 15 minute chunks, so I broke up my lesson into three parts (questions about what English is, visualizing how English can be broken into strands and sharing, then summary and setup for the next lesson) While the students presented their drawings and ideas about English, a light went off in my head that I could also get them to redo this task in January to see if their views on English will have changed slightly. I could keep the poster and have them flip over the sheet with their new understanding of what we will learn over the next four months. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that the projector malfunctioned. I now get a chance to physically remind them about where they started today. Or better yet, a chance to remind myself if I can accomplish something with them this year.



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