Teaching Log Presentation TE 849

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by MeunierL
Last updated 5 years ago

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Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
Literature

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Teaching Log Presentation TE 849

While the teaching log itself was a very worthwhile experience for me, I have also learned a great deal from reading my peers' teaching log synthesis papers as well. Some of what my peers discussed helped me to think about additional ways I may incorporate some TE 849 strategies into my classroom moving forward. For example, Kelly mentioned her use of silent discussion as a means for discussion in her classroom. I have used silent discussion previsouly during my internship; however, I have not used it in a while. I remember it being a great way for students to share ideas on paper with 100% participation (whereas an outloud discussion sometimes does not allow for this). I appreciated this reminder and can't wait to bring this strategy back into my classroom as it is very similar to the "discussions" we held in our course. Similarly, a classmate also discussed her success with the use of Unspoken with her elementary students. I read this text for the nonfiction project, but was oblivious to the connections my middle schoolers could make between this completely illustrated text and The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an upcoming text in my class. My middle school classes will definitely be able to have rich discussions surrounding this text and I can't wait to introduce it to them!

As I mentioned in my synthesis, choosing literature is much more difficult than I ever realized before. I have always been very thoughtful about my curricular goals and how they can be achieved through literature; however, I have not been as cognizant of other key issues surrounding text choices for my classroom. I notice the two novels I read with my students this year center around white, male protagonists and none feature female lead characters. Furthermore, the diversity extends to the inclusion of African Americans, yet the only characters portrayed are slaves. I thought a great deal about this and came to realize that my intentions were good in wanting to spark the discussion on human rights and acceptance; though, by only portraying African Americans as slaves, I was doing my students a disservice. Slavery was a huge part of our country's history, and it's legacy still impacts today. However, there is so much more than slavery for students to read about from an African American perspective. That being said, I discussed the potential for including verses from Brown Girl Dreaming into my curriculum. Not only does this text feature a female protagonist, it also explores race issues after slavery in both the Southern and Northern United States. Speaking of this verse novel, in the past, I also neglected to include a variety of literature types in my classroom. For the most part, my students read novels with the occassional nonfiction text thrown into the mix for good measure. Thus, the teaching log assignment prompted me to think about the value of literature such as picture books, poetry and verse, and also graphic novels. I even came up with some plans for using picture books in upcoming units. Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, I struggled with including controversial issues within my curriculum and decided to look at these issues at a more macro level. Therefore instead of implementing LGBTQ litertaure into my course, I used to log project to explore Wonder, a book about a student with a facial deformity, in order to focus on acceptance of one another. It is my hope that by including a text like Wonder while still reading texts that discuss racial tensions, my students will be able to make the connections regarding acceptance and tolerance in all aspects of their lives and interactions with one another.

As a whole, the teaching log was an experience that prompted me to be very deliberate in the decisions I was making in my classroom while also reflecting on past decisions and decisions moving forward. As an educator, I always have rationale for making my choices; however, most of the time the these decisions are focused on curricular aims and skills and not necessarily the literature itself and the impact the literature can have on students. Thus, the log really prompted me to rationalize my decisions in a context that goes beyond the skills I want my 8th grade ELA students to know how to do. Discussion was an overwhelming success in my teaching log. I've always tried to be an instructor that incorporates discussion so that student interpretations of literature drive the course rather than my personal interpretations. However, this teaching log prompted me to be much deliberate about incorporating elements of discussion into my course. I tried out a couple of different types of group discussions to prompt students into discussing the novel we just finished in class. Students have been incredibly engaged and also very willing to share during these discussions. In my log I wrote, “The enthusiasm of this group of kids I would have considered “non-readers” was astounding. After a few cycles of reading and pausing, student hands were shooting up in the air and they could hardly wait to share their annotation notes. In fact, students were even asking to stop before my “stopping points” because they had something they wanted to share or discuss. I was truly impressed.” This enthusiasm continued even when I introduced students to small group discussions and a Socratic seminar type discussion surrounding the end of our novel. Additionally, through reading my log, I notice a lot of reflection about the notion of relatability; which is definitely a success. We talked a lot about relatability in terms of our own writing while also reading samples of other student writings. Even though I chose the novel my students read prior to starting this class, I see a great deal of reflection about how students might find the text relatable. Additionally, when into a writing assignment that was sparked from the novel students read, I also saw myself being deliberate in choosing student sample essays that are relatable for students. This has been incredible important as students often read samples and are overwhelmed by the writing. Furthermore, we after reading the sample essays, students talked a great deal about what it means to be relatable as an author, meaning how could they deliberately try to interact with their own readers as writers.

Teaching Log Presentation

The inclusion of controversial issues was a major struggle for me throughout this teaching log. So many entries were dedicated to my struggles with how to incorporate controversial issues into a school context that is conservative in every sense of the word and driven by parent choice. I worried that the inclusion of controversial issues would set parents off and I would get in trouble. However, this bothered me tremendously, especially since my school focuses an entire day of the year, Mix It Up Day, on teaching tolerance and acceptance. In looking back at my log, it seems as though I felt as if my school were hypocritical by promoting tolerance and acceptance while still not including LGBTQ issues within the classroom context. While these struggles were ever present during the log, I was able to step back, because of Jackie's advice, and think more about the bigger context of acceptance as a whole and how that fits into my classroom curriculum. Many of the choices moving forward in my log were prompted by this desire to create a classroom environment where students feel safe to be themselves and share thoughts, opinions, and beliefs while still seeing themselves mirrored in the literature withing our classroom.

Celebrations

Struggles

Choosing literature

Moving Forward


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