summer school and comparative essays.

of course, a teacher’s brain resembles a web browser with a million tabs open. there’s always at least 10 decisions to act on at any given moment, while teaching, while planning, even while vacationing.

i should be resting, but of course- i’m not.

my principal convinced me to teach humanities for my school networks founding network-wide summer school session for high schoolers. last week, i reviewed reading and writing skills with a group of 11th graders. i teach them for three 55 minute blocks each day. this week, i move forward with a comparative essay project.

i was amped to create the lesson plans for the week. lesson plans are detailed descriptions that prepare a teacher to guide a class of students through a trajectory of activities to ensure that students “master” an learning objective. objectives can be content or skills-based. often, strong lesson plans include both types.

lesson planning is a vital, daily task that teachers must master. without strong lesson plans, classroom management, student engagement, and learning is virtually non-existant. first, the objective needs to set, and more importantly, how mastery of the objective will be measured. will students take a short quiz? complete an outline? synthesize ideas? having an example of what mastery looks like is perhaps the most important part of lesson planning. with an exemplar, a teacher can determine the best way to assist students in acquiring knowledge and skills.

today, we start the project by reading and discussing walt whitman’s “when i heard the learn’d astronomer”. i encountered the poem in undergraduate composition class, which is also where i got the idea for the project. ┬ástudents will be able to read and write about whitman’s poem and analyze he uses literary devices to convey ideas about transcendentalism. also, students will practice reading and writing utilizing text evidence. students will also learn about transcendentalism as a period of american literature.

throughout the week, students will be introduced to other types of literature, fiction and non-fiction; historical, political and more. the exciting part to increase student engagement entails having students compare the themes from a new work each day, with their favorite modern-day pop songs. i will model the practice on monday, and then challenge them to draw parallels or examine conflicts between the two works.

on tuesday, students will read the black panther party ten-point program. on wednesday, students will read “so that you will hear me” by pablo neruda. come back throughout this week, as i share materials and reflections from each lesson.

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