I love teaching units more than once. I get do-overs! Each year, my kids teach me more about how they learn, how best to reach them. And lucky me, I don’t even have to wait until the following year! Working at two schools, with two sets of kids, I get two tries for each lesson.
I observe, make notes, and iterate for next time. Was my lesson a “klunker?” I’ll apologize to my kids and try again. Did we take a detour that turned out great? Better believe I’ll include it, for real, next time.
Today was round one of guiding my kids through a poetry project. We used Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book and let our work go from there. I’m not going to lie. My fourth-graders came up with some pretty insightful stuff!
Here’s what I wrote alongside them:
The important thing about cars is that they move.
They are big, and fast, and sometimes noisy,
And when we’re not paying attention
We find ourselves in the wrong places,
And they carry us
And our luggage,
They play host
To our meals
And our car-radio concerts
And our fights
And our road-trip memories,
And they give us room for
Best had with
Eyes on the road,
Hands on the wheel,
Closeness made bearable
Through the space of open road.
But the important thing about cars is that they move.
4 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The Important Thing”
When I taught two ELA groups, I loved that part too — getting do-overs! Love that you were writing with your kids. Thanks for sharing that!
Thank YOU! Yes, the do-overs are great…and sometimes, it’s humbling…as in, when the lesson goes GREAT the first time, only to have it fall flat with a different audience. All of which is to say, I’ll take victories however they come!
When I taught I can 5 classes LA classes a day so by the fifth time I taught a lesson I had things pretty well organized. If course, there are still things that fifth period class taught me.
I recently had a similar conversation with a colleague, about the way lessons improve after each repetition, how we wished the first group could have had what the last group did…and you’re right, every “audience” is different. You’ve brought out a vital understanding, though: as teachers, we learn from the kids. In the best scenarios, we design learning around this learning. That’s the key to responsive teaching. I love this poem you wrote alongside the kids. The first and last lines speak to me so – cars MOVE. So much metaphor here…