Yesterday morning, I taught a lesson about concrete poetry. I was very nervous but I feel like it went well, considering it was my very first time teaching. What went well in my lesson is that all of the students were engaged in the topic, and were eager to create their own concrete poems. I first asked the students if anyone knew what concrete poetry was, and I received complete silence from each student. I was able to grab their attention by reading a book that was written in all concrete poetry, and it was also a good way of showing numerous examples of what concrete poetry could be. After the story I asked the same question again, and this time many students put up their hand to explain to me what concrete poetry was. I was happy and relieved that the book as an example worked to help me explain it.
However, there were a few things that didn’t go as I planned. Mostly, my estimated time length of the lesson was way off. I estimated it to be around 27 minutes, and it ended up taking about 3 times longer. It turned out to be more like an hour and a half lesson. This wasn’t a huge deal because my coop teacher warned me in our pre-conference that she anticipated it to be longer so told me to expect it to go longer than planned. Something I found challenging that I had not even thought about at all, was the fact that some students came late. This was one aspect that led my lesson going a lot longer than planned because I had to talk with those students privately because they missed the explanation of the lesson entirely. Then I had to spend time with them discussing what they thought concrete poetry is and what they wanted to do their poem on. I was happy that my off estimation didn’t affect my partner’s time or interfere with my coop teacher’s morning because she was really great about it all. I also had incorporated “KWL” charts into the lesson that I had the table groups fill out after explaining what to do with them, and they were a good idea because it was able to get the table groups engaged and talking about what they knew however, we weren’t able to fill out the “L” because the lesson was taking so much longer than expected and by the time students were finished their poems many were already onto the next task because every student finished at different times. I also struggled with the noise level. Since it is a one-roomed school with only dividers in between classrooms, the noise levels get really high at times. I did my lesson at the beginning of the morning as soon as the kids came in, and the kindergarteners were still settling down and so they were very noisy. My coop teacher stopped me because she said she could hardly hear me and told me that she was going to get me to stop until the noise went down because she wanted to kids to be able to hear me so they could understand the lesson. I really appreciated that because it wasn’t entirely my fault, it is just an obstacle that the teachers at this school sometimes face with it being one roomed and she didn’t want my lesson to fail. I could have tried to talk louder, but I would have literally had to scream the lesson, waiting for the noise levels to decrease was just an unforeseen circumstance that is a great example of how teachers need to think on their feet in unexpected situations.
If I were to re-teach this lesson, I would change quite a few things about it. I would obviously change my time limits and would allow more time because some students were able to create a poem in a shorter period of time, but lots of students needed the extra time. I would also incorporate a “KWL” chart in a different spot in the lesson because I think it would work better at the very beginning of the lesson, therefore they can think about what they want to learn or what they think it is and then after I explain the lesson they can write down what they learned instead of waiting until after they created their own poems. Or else I would leave out the “KWL” chart until there was a time I could continue on with it the next day, and then get them to fill out the “L” the next day, perhaps if we were continuing on with poetry it would be a good way to refresh their memory. I found it was a tough strategy to use in one lesson, and that it works out better if they are actually doing some research, getting info from a story, or something like that as opposed to an activity that they are completing and creating themselves.
The fact that lessons do not go how you plan them out on paper definitely was solidified after teaching my first lesson. However, I also learned that it is not as scary as I thought it would be and that as long as you have some sort of plan you will be able to go with whatever the day or the students throw at you. I also learned that you must always be on your feet because you can never know what to expect. With all that being said, I am really excited to continue to gain experience and keep learning new things with each lesson I prepare and teach.