Help me plan….

A recent blog post on a private ning about making our planning transparent has me thinking. 
I am teaching a ninth-grade English class on Introduction to Genres this year for the first time, using plans from a former teacher. Book
So far, it has worked well since I have a solid base in short stories and autobiographies and the familiar readings.
However, I am about to head into drama using Antigone and two other plays. If I ever had an understanding of Greek tragedies, it is gone now! And the other two plays are also just distant memories for me (I've been teaching almost 30 years now and NOT in this division).
So….I think I will do some thinking and planning right here. That way, if anyone has any great ideas, well, they can share with me!
My first thought is that I will ask the students to help me plan the unit, too. I've never done this before–actually let the students move in their own direction with a unit of study. One of my goals this year is to define and explore student-centered learning, so this seems like an opportunity to let them go and further my research.
The goal is to help them fully understand the concepts of drama, just as they did for short stories and autobiographies. And, ultimately, they will write a one-act play. But how we get there is undecided at this point.
I will spend some time today reading some background material and, of course, checking the previous plans. This almost sounds like a contradiction– creating a plan to let go.
However, if you want to pass along any nuggets of brilliance, please do!

Uploaded on October 23, 2007
by lochnessjess

2 thoughts on “Help me plan….

  1. My classrooms are project based. I always start with the end in mind. What do I want the final project to look like? What needs to be learned to reach that final project? Where do I need to check for understanding? I build in checkpoints for these and then plan my teaching around what I see the kids needing. In most cases, they are doing so well, that I have them help the ones who are struggling. Letting kids do their own learning is so powerful. I’ve been doing in now for 19 years and believe it is the only way to teach.

  2. Thanks for validating this. Interestingly, I’ve been able to do this easily in my journalism classes, but I’ve been reluctant to let go in English. I do have a plan, however, and I’ve written my “essential questions” to guide the unit. Building in checkpoints is so important; thanks for reminding me of that.

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