Wednesday 5 August 2015

A Memorable Lesson

What is your most memorable lesson? Have you ever taught an unforgettable lesson, forever etched on the mind of your students such that if they are awoken from a deep slumber and asked any question they can very easily answer and go back to sleep. Below is Lola’s account of her memorable lesson, read on and take note of the best practices she employed.
I walked into the Year 8 room class for my 8:15 am lesson that beautiful Monday morning, thoroughly refreshed from a restful weekend. As my usual practise is, I displayed the following warm-up task on the smart board to get the students settled:

Quick Write: can you remember the last movie you saw? What was it about? Did you enjoy it? Write a 4-6 sentence paragraph about the movie.

As the students got busy writing, I ticked off their names on my attendance list, double-checked my slides and practise sheets. After four minutes I stopped the task and asked a couple of students to share what they had written. As expected, their responses elicited excited chatter which I quickly nipped in the bud by projecting the lesson title and objectives on the board, asking a volunteer student to get up and read out loud:

Reading : The Main Idea

Specific Objectives: At the end of the lesson I should be able to:

a.      Identify and explain the main idea of the passage

b.      Clearly define and write the main idea of a passage

I instructed the students to re-read the objectives silently so as to recognize what is expected of them and take responsibility for their learning. This took five minutes.

I proceeded to introduce the lesson by painting this scenario:

“You are on your way to the Art Room and your friend is bugging you about the movie you saw over the weekend. You don’t have enough time to talk about the whole two hour movie but you can tell your friend in a few sentences what the movie is about. What is it all about? The answer to this question is the main idea.”

I walked between the aisles making eye contact and tapping seemingly distracted students as I further explained that The Main Idea refers to what a paragraph or an article is about. I asked the students to give me synonyms for the words main and idea and I wrote their responses on the board:

Main: important, key, heart of the matter,

Idea:  thought, clue, thesis, topic

This lasted for seven minutes.

I utilized twenty minutes to properly present the lesson by showing a PowerPoint presentation on main idea. The PowerPoint was very interactive and required that the students paid close attention and provided answers to questions. It showed them how to identify the main idea with copious examples, and provided them with practise for identifying it.  This also doubled as guided practise for the students.

Afterwards, the students broke into their various groups as they worked together to identify the main idea in two practise exercises. I walked round monitoring the groups, giving directions where necessary and ensuring that everyone stayed on task. After ten minutes of working, the practise sheets were collated and passed forward to me.

The last few minutes of my lesson were spent recapping the highlights of the lesson, giving room for questions and asking evaluation questions. I was encouraged by the responses I got. I closed by giving an assignment in which the students were to go home and identify the main idea in the paragraph they wrote during the warm up task or to clearly rewrite one.

I stepped out of the class at 8:55am just as the bell went, signalling the end of the lesson.

Points to ponder:

1.       Are you time conscious?

2.       Do you know how to nip disruption in the bud before it takes over your whole class?

3.       Do you know how to use technology in the classroom?

4.       Are you a lecture type teacher, or do you experiment with a variety of teaching methods to make your lessons fun, interactive and engaging?

5.       Do you write the lesson objectives on the board and get the students to read so they can know what the outcome of their learning should be?

6.       Do you just sit at your table doling out orders while your students work or do you walk around to monitor and ensure that every one is on task?

SELAH- Think on these things


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