Sunday, October 3, 2010

Creative Juices

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. ---Joseph Chilton Pierce

I will freely and willingly admit: I am not an artist. I struggle with being creative beyond the domains of pen and paper. I draw stick figures when I do self-portraits, and at best my other ideas are mediocre. Don't get me wrong, I am proud of what I can do. I know what I am good at, but coming up with creative lesson plans has always been a challenge for me. Even with all I have learned about Backwards Design, I still spent too much time looking at a blank sheet of paper trying to materialize ideas.

My practicum partner is a wonderful and creative person. She already has her ideas down on paper and is probably ready to teach everything. This is why I wanted to work with her because of her creative mind. I am much more practical, logistical. I am the planner, not the artist.

For the past 45 minutes, I've been staring at The Grammar Plan book hoping that some idea on how to teach verbs and subject-verb agreement will magically pop into my head. On Friday, the kids had a sub, and the CT wanted them to watch Grammar Rock!. It was a good Friday/substitute activity. My jaw almost dropped though, when after playing "Unpack Your Adjectives", I paused the video and asked the kids, "okay, what's an adjective?" (they should have known if they had filled out their worksheets), and one kid said, "I put 'a noun'".

Quite frankly, I'm afraid. This is something I learned in maybe first or second grade. Is this what our public schools have come to? I am not a product of the public education system, but more than likely that is where I will be working. And then I see the tests that these kids have to take. Our CT gave us a week and a half to cover not only the basic parts of speech, but also everything that the kids have to know for the test, such as semicolons, commas and colons. Throw in the days with shortened schedules, factors of kids not being there and missing out, how willing the kids are to participate in activities, etc, and I'm not sure that it can be done.

This particular class has a lot of kids who need to be up and active. So first and foremost, I am looking at how to incorporate movement into this lesson, and after that, I am at a loss. The kids are so used to sitting there and writing down notes from a power point when our CT teaches, and I know they need a change of pace and scenery.

Creative lesson plans do not equal effective lesson plans. Granted, most of the time they do. But I think I am overwhelming myself with trying to do too many things at once when developing this lesson plan. I think I'm giving myself a mental block by taking on too many considerations. Looks like it's back to basics.

I think I'll be burning the midnight oil this evening...

1 comment:

  1. I think most of planning is thinking. There are very few times that I don't spend most of the weekend mulling things over in my head and then write down the results after days of thinking. So, that's semi-normal. :)

    For movement, think of parts of speech and building blocks. Remember, your students already know these because they speak English. They just need to learn the labels. Color code words, use highlighters, use students to form sentences in the from of the room using construction paper to color code words and talk about what happens when the words are "out of order" and how many possibilities there are to place other kinds of words. I don't know if this helps...

    Just think about your kids. You are doing the right thing.