My English 405 class was asked to grade papers for a high school English class within our community. We were each assigned two papers and asked to grade them to the best of our ability and to rate them either distinguished, mastered, or not mastered. After grading the two papers that I was assigned, I decided that they were both considered distinguished. I thought that both of the students did an excellent job of organizing their writing and defending their claims by integrating evidence and opinion. Also, I noticed that both students could improve on their academic language.
After the several assignments and projects in ENG 405, it is coming to a close. There are only a couple weeks until finals week, and although I am looking forward to summer, I am grateful for the learning that I did in this class. There are several projects, such as the unit plan, micro-lessons, and pair share that have required the majority my attention. These three assignments, among others, have strengthen my ability to plan for my future classroom. Although I have spent countless hours working away on them, I feel accomplished after the knowledge and experience I have gained from them.
The unit plan for class took a great deal of my time, if not the most. I worked very hard on it and put a lot of effort into it. After turning it in, it is amazing to see the unit that I have produced and I hope that I will have the opportunity to teach it one day. I am very proud of the theme, social justice, of my unit because it worked very well with the text, To Kill a Mockingbird. The text brings many topics of discussion to the class through the eyes of a young girl, which I think is very moving and effective in a classroom of students who are only a few years older than her. This gives those students the opportunity to find commonalities between each other, as well as Jem, and the other young characters in the text. The events, specifically the trial of Tom Robinson, is an example of the absence of social justice, also known as social injustice, throughout my unit. The text demonstrates one man, Atticus Finch, standing up for what is right and what he believes in, and how he is a model for his children and for me as well. When I read To Kill a Mockingbird in middle school, I learned about a devastating trial and situation, and unfortunately, something that happens in my world. I learned about a tough topic through a classic piece of literature. I hope to recreate and improve my experience of learning about social justice and injustice through To Kill a Mockingbird.
The micro-lesson was definitely a learning experience because I have never been only given 37.5 minutes to teach something. Through my practicum experience, I have become used to teaching for roughly 50 minutes or so. For me, it was tough to plan activities to last that precise amount of time, simply because I am not used to doing that. In my opinion, 37.5 minutes is not nearly enough time to teach a wholesome lesson. It was difficult to tailor the material to that amount of time, but I realize that there may be shortened class periods due to assemblies and school activities, and this practice will help me adjust to shortened class time.
Planning the literature pair share was an enjoyable experience because the book, The Great Gatsby, that I was able to choose is my favorite book. I have read it so many times that I know parts of it by heart. When I was able to write a unit on The Great Gatsby, ideas immediately flew through my mind and I was determined to type them into my computer. My favorite part of the unit is the very last day, which is a 1920's prohibition party. Although alcohol is not allowed at the party because the students are underage, the party is historically themed. I planned for my students to bring snacks and treats, and while at the party, students would be able to talk about the book, the 1920's era, and listen to 1920's music. It is my way to bring the culture as best as I can to my students, and they will be encouraged to use their knowledge to contribute their own 1920's themed ideas to the party as well. Overall, I think it was a beneficial experience that I hope to be able to use in my classroom one day, of course, if I am teaching 9th grade, because The Great Gatsby may not be completely appropriate or engaging to middle school aged students.
Through my experience in ENG 405, I have gained an abundance of knowledge about teaching English. I am more than excited to student teach and have the chance to implement my ideas into an English classroom. I feel much more prepared to teach English after my experience in ENG 405.
I am in my last English class of my undergraduate degree and it is quite challenging. We learn a lot everyday about how we can become influential English teachers. Each day, our teacher implements a piece of technology that we can use in our classrooms, such as the idea of blogging. Blogging is not something that I am used to because I am not a fan of publishing my feelings online, but it is something I will give "the old college try."
In the beginning of class, we were asked to create Deep Maps. I was very excited because I was able to express the inner artist inside of me. I realize that I am no Picasso, but art is something that I enjoy and I think that I am decent of. The idea of posting my Deep Map and Legend online was new for me though, because I have never actually posted any of my art online, unless I Instagram a picture of something I drew just to release some stress. Like I have said, this idea of being a blogger is very new to me, but I do not have any issues with it so far. I actually have grown to like it a little after the Deep Map assignment because I was encouraged to display my art somewhere other than the typical social media site. I also had a large amount of space to express what this drawing meant to me as a teacher and not some short comment about a sketch I drew. It was also the first time that I was ever asked to do anything visually artistic in an English class. All of my English classes, which I have loved for the most part considering I am an English Education major, have required me to read and write analytically. In this English class, I was asked to do something artistic and express myself in a new medium. I also have to say that I am quite proud of my Deep Map and am definitely going to use this idea in my future classes.
As the semester progressed, we have been assigned projects and have begun practicums. I really like my practicum so far. I have learned many things about life in a middle school classroom from my CT and it makes me excited to have a classroom of my own one day. All of these projects, on the contrary, are quite overwhelming. We have two unit plan projects. One of the will be uploaded to our ePortfolio and the other one is a mini-unit pair share. Those two projects, along with my History methods class, are gradually taking over my life. Even though it is a lot of work, I realize that it will be a resource down the road. For example, I know that I will almost definitely use my unit plan on To Kill a Mockingbird in my future classroom. Not only do I love that book, but as I have been working diligently on my unit plan, I have noticed that the timeless novel is dense with life lessons that my future students will relate to in some way. It is a lot of work, but I realize that it will pay off. Right now, I am just getting through it all step by step!