Coffee, Books, Reflection
Today we're wrapping up TKAM. The students have also learned about the Great Depression & the trial of the Scottsboro boys. Today their goal was to take a packet & video about the Scottsboro boys we had been working on most of the week and boil it down into 5 important takeaways. First, we started in small groups. Then a delegate from each group took their 5 facts or takeaways to the front of the room and through the help of other delegates and their classmates, students boiled the trial & lessons down in to 5 "class facts." This was a totally student led activity, and it was great to sit away from them and let them go. Only 2 of the 5 sections needed minimal redirection to accomplish this task -- everyone else just worked to complete the task.
In book club we've been reading Learn Like a Pirate about student led classrooms. While I can't quite let go the way the author has, I think teachers often forget to get out of the way and encourage students to grapple with texts and tough issues themselves. Sometimes through being the "guide on the side," teachers accidentally inject themselves into learning that students don't need help with. Today, for example, I observed that my placement during the room directly impacted how much control students took of the room. When I moved to the back and sat down, students built everything together. If I got up or sat too near their working space, students looked to me for the final answer.
Some days I need a sign to remind myself to shut up, get out of their way, and let them learn.
In the gallery below are a few examples of what my students came up with for their top 5 most important lessons to know about the Scottsboro boys trial. Enjoy!
The views on this blog are mine alone and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.
Kari teaches English I to 9th graders (!) and other electives in rural Iowa. Her husband is also an English teacher, and their friends have sworn to never help them move again because "even libraries don't have that many books."