Week 7 (part 2 of 2):
We really wanted to incorporate the students today in our first lesson!!! We wanted them to get up and be an active part of the class. It’s an English class, so a lot of the time they are sitting and either reading or writing. We wanted to create a review for their test that was both functional and engaging. Something they could have fun with and be competitive about, but also learn the material. I was excited to be in front of the class and actually get a feel for being a teacher. We were kind of rushed when it came to doing our lesson; we weren’t sure how much time we would have so we made our lesson flexible. We played a game called “the fly swatter game.” Since they were learning about Greek mythology, the game worked well. We put all the names of the characters they had to know on the board and then we split the class into two teams. We gave each team a fly swatter and they had to pick a member from their team to come up to the board. The two students had to turn their backs to the board and wait for us to read the question. They then had to be the first one to hit the correct name on the board with their fly swatter. Some questions included:
1. Who had hair made of snakes? (Medusa)
2. Who was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld? (Persephone)
3. Who was the three-headed dog that guarded the underworld? (Cerberus)
4. Who had a box filled with evils? (Pandora)
They had to be quick to hit the correct answer before their opponent, but also we only let them hit one answer. If the two people at the board were unsure, the question went to the two teams. Each correct answer got one point for their team. We then wanted to make it a little harder, so we offered bonus questions every so often. Whatever team got the answer correct had a chance to answer the bonus questions for one extra point as well as a tootsie pop sucker. Such bonus questions included:
1. Now that we know Medusa had hair made of snakes, who can tell me how she got that way?
2. What does Persephone’s story tell us about nature?
3. Now that we know who had a box of evils, why was Pandora created in the first place?
It made them not only think about the character but how the character’s story affects us today and what lesson was learned. We didn’t want the game to be too simple and just a fun way to spend class. We wanted them to think and really demonstrate what they knew about Greek mythology.
They got really into the game. Some students were too shy to go up to the board and play, but you could tell everyone was paying attention. I felt everyone was at least hearing some facts and because it was such an engaging activity, they were unable to just tone it out. I felt excited when they were fighting over turns and wanting to be involved in the game. I was really aware of classroom management and worked hard to keep them quiet. We made rules like, “if you scream out an answer, your team loses a point” and “everyone who wants to take a turn, gets a turn before anyone can go to the board again.” I knew the game would be the easy part and that organizing and keeping the students under control would be the hard part.
It is becoming increasingly more obvious how important directions are and how many times they are repeated. I keep hearing that directions need to be said several times in several different ways and to get prepared for that. GEEZ. This is definitely a reality in an eighth grade classroom. Everyone is at a different pace and interested in twenty other things than what you are trying to tell them. Four of us walk around during this hour trying to keep the students on task and working and I still feel like it is mass chaos. How is that possible? How can four adults be ineffective in keeping 13 year olds on task?
Overall I learned a lot from leading the game and felt the students really enjoyed the review of Greek mythology. They had the test the next day, so we’ll see if doing the review game really helped them or if it was just a “game.” They enjoyed winning candy and taking a break from writing definitions and looking up facts. This was strictly a fun way to reinforce the material. Some students were clearly more prepared than others, but it didn’t hurt to expose them to it one more time.
The best part was my mentor teaching asking if she could keep the fly swatters and play the same game with her 6th hour class. Such a great way to build confidences!! Haha In my teaching classes, we talk about using students work as examples and putting their work on bulletin boards and overheads because it helps students feel a real sense of ownership and accomplishment. I now remember that feeling first hand!! Having a teacher who has been teaching for so long, love our idea so much she wants to re-use it is AWESOME! I felt like I had brought an actual useful tool into the classroom. It became so clear that I was a colleague and not just a student to her. She valued to work we put into the game and thought it was something useful for the students.
I’m so glad we took a risk and taught a lesson. At first I was unsure if I was ready to be in front of a class. It’s a busy time in my semester with classes winding down and I felt stressed adding one more thing to my list of things to do. In the end, I am so glad I took a risk and made time for such an invaluable experience. This is what teaching is: making lessons, going into the classroom, and walking away with a better sense of your students. I need to remember, that college classes are just that, college classes, but the experience in the classroom is something I will always use and reflect back on…
So weird to think, but I’m like…a teacher! :)