It’s exciting to learn a new idea, activity, or trick--especially if it gets immediate results. It’s the lure of those ads on my FaceBook page: “Find out why dermatologists hate this woman!” “One silly little tip for losing all your belly fat!” But most of teaching and of life is just figuring out how to do more and better what you already know you should be doing. That’s the kind of week it was in English 10--a writing week for teaching content and skills, for scaffolding intake and practice, for doing formative assessment toward a summative assessment. I had enough successes to convince me I’m on the right track, and enough failures to challenge me to do even better next time.
- Monday: Prewriting to come up with a working thesis and preview of points
- Tuesday: Planning (using linear outline or graphic form in Inspiration)
- Wednesday: Choosing a current event or personal situation
- Thursday: Formulating and supporting a Biblical perspective
- Friday: Introducing quotations
I found teaching content is important--from characteristics of a strong topic sentence, to a list of ways to introduce quotations, to the availability and power of the Index to Subjects and Index to Notes in the back of the school-provided NIV Study Bible.
Without boring you with complete lesson plans, I hoped to teach some content, provide modeling and scaffolded practice, and leave time for writing and conferencing with me each day.
I also found that teaching content is looses effectiveness if students don’t also experience doing it. In the one class period where I had time for students to carry out an exercise using those two indexes in their Bibles, I observed a student using an index on his own during work time the following day. In the two class periods where I only covered the content--these indexes exist and you would do well to use them--I didn’t observe any independent use of them.