Monday, December 1, 2008

Taking control of Homer

It sure was hard to get up today, but the day went super well; I meticulously planned every lesson for the week, and it's so much more satisfying knowing exactly my goals and direction than going fly-by-night, which sometimes happens. It's nice to be confident that my kids really learned and produced something today, and I know it's going to happen every day this week.

This has been a strange unit, as we are co-teaching The Odyssey with the Social Studies department. It was, and is, hard to get everyone on the same page because both departments are large and a key member of each has been out for important stretches of the unit. Overall it's been successful but it's also made me feel a little like I've been teaching without a rudder. I'm a control freak and like to have complete control and knowledge about where I'm headed with the children, specifically what my goals are. For the first time doing it, we did fine, but I look forward next time to knowing a bit more of our collective subject-related goals and assessments before we begin the unit.

I just decided to take control of what I could control in my classroom and wrote detailed lesson plans for the week. Part of it is necessity - I'm going to be out on Wednesday and Friday and needed to get my plans for my students just in case they don't have a sub (or have sweet, wan 86-year old Mrs. Mabel Smith, who wears a floppy wig and who the children take more care of than vice versa) so they know the expectations. But it was also about me, about knowing where I'm headed. It feels good.

I'll be finished with Homer and moving onto Harper Lee on Monday. Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird is like putting on a pair of socks warm out of the drier, so warm and comfortable. Yet I still seem to notice something new in this wonderful novel every year, (I'm thinking about getting this tattoo, or something like it, at some point in my life), or figure out some other way to approach it. I'm still playing around this year. I sort of want to do blogging about it, over at Edublogs. I need to educate myself more, though. We'll see if I can get it together this week; I'm hopeful that I can (too bad I have completely ridiculous, time-wasting assignments for my two required Reading Comprehension courses to complete this week, plus sit in the 3-hour classes).

Off to bed early tonight.

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