Monday, November 18, 2013

Beginning of my Unit and 8th Graders Being 8th Graders

The "key assignment" for this part of my student teaching placement is the completion of a unit plan. In the United States, I would have this planned out weeks ahead of time with my cooperating teacher, and it would be organized to the point of sickness. At HF-L, my unit lasted a little bit over two weeks. I had time on my side, and a lot of time to bring forth my ideas. 

Ghana is not this way. My unit will consist of three 80 minute blocks over the span of a week. I found out last week that I will be teaching poetry, and that I can do what I want for the unit as long as I follow along with a book and teach what my teacher tells me to teach. In other words, I am not teaching what I would like to, as far as terms, elements, and what I feel is important; but I do get to teach what I must teach in my own ways. This makes me excited. This happened as a result: 

Kwame thought "Outside the Box" and was
While reading poetry, and while thinking about how to teach poetry, one must always "think outside the box." In order to help kids grasp the idea of "thinking outside the box" (they had no idea what this meant), I reached into my bag of tricks, did some origami, and made a box out of paper. At the time, the Jets were down 20 in the second quarter, and I thought paper folding would calm me down. It didn't. ANYWAY, whenever I felt a student was thinking outside the box, I gave them the box and had the students cheer for them. This way, other students would see how he was thinking and have it serve as a model. Kwame turned the box into a hat, and I am totally cool with that. It showed me that he felt comfortable with me and was on the same page as me. Let's face it, I would have done the exact same thing. In my first lesson I think I began to unlock some creativity and I had some fun. I allowed the kids to be kids in a supportive learning environment. 

Another "fun" thing that happened today that screamed puberty was when I asked students to practice rhyming words. This was harder than I thought because with their accent, students pronounce a lot of words differently than I do. For instance, they thought that "cut" rhymed with "cat," and the way that they pronounced the word, it did. One boy did not have any problem rhyming words. When I asked him to tell me some rhymes, he told me: "cart, fart, shart." 

I told him he was totally correct, and was laughing too hard to say anything else.

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