Best Shows My Teaching
1. FREEWRITING & 250 WORD CONSTRAINT ACTIVITY
I feel really passionate about helping students figure out that they already have a lot of the gifts and tools that they need in order to write. So many students--so many people--have convinced themselves that they cannot write, that they have "writer's block" or that they aren't "good enough" to write or that they "don't have anything to write about". A lot of this, I have found in my teaching years and in my own practice as a writer, is a form of resistance that rises because so many people have convinced themselves that their creator and their editor should be both active during the writing process, when many artists and creatives have found that when we release ourselves from the need to be "right" from the need to have the perfect grammar, the perfect spelling, to get it correct the first time when writing, and creating, is a process. It was really great to see students say that during the free-writing portion, that they felt "freer" and it felt "good" and exciting to write. Watching students write in the slide-deck felt really good and it was really great to see students writing a lot and allowing themselves to create. The 250 word constraint activity was a great way to invite the editor back in, allowing the inner critic back in to correct grammar, analyze the writing, and figure out how to make the writing the best representation of the the storytelling that the writer could make.
2. WHO AM I? DISCUSSION
The Who Am I? Discussion from Week 1 of school felt successful in each of the classes. It felt like many students really started to think past the answers of their name and their age, starting to delve deeper into how complicated the question "Who am I?" really is. It was really great to hear students start to unravel the complexities, venturing all the parts that make us who we are. Some of my favorite parts of the discussion were the parts where people started to make the connections that it is hard enough to learn how to know ourselves and who we are--how much more complicated is it to try to know someone else? Some students brought up that we are more than just the parts of us that are exciting and happy, some students suggesting that our identities are also made up of all the things we experience in life--the sad parts, the traumas, the obstacles. I wish that I had something from each individual student to see where they were during this discussion, but I did enjoy what students chose to share out loud and what students were typing into the chat and the Peardeck and I'm excited to build upon this.
Area of Improvement
There are a lot of places where I want to improve on my practice from this past month, but the piece of evidence that I think most effectively shows this is how very different all 4 classes were in regards to the Cognitive Dissonance discussion and lesson. Every single class was super different, and I learned something from each class that I am hoping to integrate into my practice this next month. One class launched into a discussion that went in so many different directions. I learned a lot about the class, and it reminded me deeply that classrooms are microcosms of our world and our community, and it reminded me that my first and foremost responsibility as an educator is to figure out how to make it safe for all students to encounter the difficult while standing in their own truth and power. I modified and adjusted that class so that I could really respond to those students, and I changed the lesson plan for the following day to respond as well, and then from there I adjusted the launching off point for the other three classes. I am always learning as an educator, and my job as a learner must be a priority so that I can continue expanding my knowledge and skillset. I also quite leaned on the video to explain Cognitive Dissonance, and in one class, I felt like they weren't even listening to the video, so another thing I want to improve upon is finding and providing a variety of ways for students to display evidence of their thinking and understandings when I introduce new content. I want this to happen in a variety of ways--out loud, through writing, through doodling, etc., so that students have many ways to show that they are learning.