On April 4, 2014, I presented a lesson that focused on the assigned reading of Act I in Raisin in the Sun. The main goal of the class was to get students to use higher level thinking to analyze the text and find the themes and deeper meaning in the play. This reflection will focus on some of the strength and weaknesses of the lesson and my instruction.
One of the main struggles within the lesson was how to effectively use time to cover all the goals of my plan. This lesson was challenged by the time constraints of having a 50-minute class period and a quiz that was taking 25 minutes of the class. When planning the lesson I thought it would be possible to place students in groups to do close reading questions. I quickly discovered, after doing poetry brackets at the beginning of class and then discussing the main points of Act I, there was very little time to actually do the activity. Students were only in groups less than 10 minutes and could not really look at the ...view middle of the document...
This would have better prepared them to go through the close reading questions in groups and engaged their thinking in upper level analysis.
Another challenge to my time management was the lack of students who had read before class begun. Being able to generate excitement about the text has been a challenge. Many of the students think that reading is a waste of time and refuse to read even when they are given time in class. The few times that I have been able to get active participation in reading is when I offer extra credit to read aloud or give quizzes at the begin of classes. The expectations that students will read without encouragement is unrealistic at times. In the future, I will use reading check questions every day they were to read and I will also show greater excitement and hype the reading before assigning it. Excitement can be contagious and the more emotion or passion that I show towards the reading the more excited the students will be. The aspect of tangible accountability has been lack in my class and I feel having the reading checks will help student avoid apathy.
The last thing I would have changed about the lesson is how I would have gone about the close reading exercise. I have utilized group work a great deal during my time at Shawnee Mission Northwest and have made the students do little on their own. I would have liked to have had the students read aloud certain sections of selected text and then had a question and answer time between sections. After the class close reading exercise, I would have had each student take a passage and write how they personally see that theme or underlying truth play out in their own lives. That would have made the students both analyze and then relate the material to their lives and current culture.
I felt the poetry brackets at the beginning of class have been effective to starting lessons and pulling students in. It practices many of the Common Core standard by covering reading, speaking and listening at the outset of class. This also asks the kids to engage because they are required to vote on the best poem presentation and know they might be asked to defend their vote by the teacher.
In all, I felt I did well with the time that I had. In the future, I will think through timing better in order to maximize my in class teaching time.