Some important resources:
- Reuters (news source, in the middle politically, just reports the news)
- 10 Supreme Court Cases Every Teen Should Know http://www.nytimes.com/learning/teachers/featured_articles/20080915monday.html
New Jersey vs TLO Explained in Five Minutes: US History Review (Video)
- Ingraham v. Wright (1977) Prezi
Vernonia School District v. Acton (Video)
This week I had a three day week. There was a snow day one day (YAY!) and then I had to miss a day for an out-of-state basketball game. One day I got to teach a lesson on Tinker v. Des Moines. The lesson went pretty well, and it had some great student discussion. I think it’s really important that students realize what rights they have in school, and how they differ (or don’t differ) from those that they have outside of school. My cooperating teacher and I used this court case to introduce student rights, and I think this case (one of the most important and memorable in this category) was a great one to start with. It was a situation that students could understand (especially with all of the current protests), and one that really got them thinking about their own lives – what can they wear to school? We also had a great conversation about what teachers could and couldn’t wear, and how our position of power changes our ability to express our opinions.
One day my cooperating teacher was out, so I took the lead on teaching, although I had a substitute teacher with me. I didn’t plan the day’s lessons myself, but taught what my cooperating teacher had organized. For the seventh grade group, we were continuing what we had been working on during the week, and it went really well. The eighth grade group did well too, aside from some students in one class who were talking over other students in our class discussion. The eighth graders were doing a lot of independent work, and many of them did a lot of good work.
Some thoughts I had during the week:
- My cooperating teacher does such a good job of making connections in the moment that he might not have anticipated. There was a situation where a student asked a question that easily could have spiraled the conversation out of focus – but, my cooperating teacher kept his composure and handled the situation perfectly. I hope to have that “coolness” when I teach.
- “Framing” – something to keep in mind is how you “frame” what students are about to do. It’s important to set the stage for the lesson by emphasizing key points of learning, relevance to “real life”, and the purpose of learning the material.
- The first time you teach a lesson, it likely won’t be the best version – you can make adjustments for the 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) time!
- Making connections to the students’ lives is important – my example was showing students their own school’s dress code, and asking them what they think teachers can wear – or can’t wear – to school.
- When absent, making an “overview video” – when my cooperating teacher was out, he made a short video for both classes where he went over what they would be doing for class. This was great because it not only let the students know of his expectations, but it gave me (and the sub) a better understanding of what was expected.
- Inclusion – when I was leading a class discussion, I was able to incorporate a student with a disability (on the autism spectrum) that normally does not get to participate very much in class. The student’s para found an opportunity for her to join in on the discussion, and I was glad that I was able to call on her and have her be part of the class.
Teacher Meme of the Week: