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The English Teacher Designing Lessons and Units In developing a class, interlock lessons and units to build and

develop skills and to maintain skills and knowledge. Don't teach something that you drop and never teach any part of again.... or never use the knowledge of any part again. If you do totally drop material, you are teaching the student to forget and/or are confirming the concept that it is ok to forget -and/or- that what you are teaching is not important enough to remember. When you design a lesson, it usually takes two or three times presenting it to a class to work out all the problems. [In my first Methods class we were asked to design a poetry lesson for 11th graders without any prior class instruction in how to accomplish this. Then all the faults of our presentations were pointed out. It was a potentially discouraging experience... leaving the class with the impression that new lessons had to be perfect, without flaws. In the real world, a perfect first lesson rarely happens.] Don't give up the idea of creating some lessons of your own and instead rely solely on 'canned' lessons because of one or two imperfect first results. It can take two or three years to develop a class. The first time you give a test, if you designed the test, it is the test that is being tested. If it is a test someone else designed, then the first time that you give it, your teaching is being tested. The Teaching Literature page has examples of some test designs as does Teaching Media. The English Teacher Oral Quiz Oral quizzes serve a number of purposes. When students are not reading their reading assignments, the teacher may give them written quizzes to motivate the class to do their homework. Depending on the class, the students may not be motivated by low grades to do their reading. If that is the case, sometimes an oral quiz will create the motivation. The quiz consists of three parts. In part one, the instructor calls upon students in some pre-determined fashion such as alphabetically, reverse order, or working from the middle of the class list to the beginning and the end, etc. Each student who is called upon tells part of the narrative, in chronological order. That is, they have to know the story sufficiently well to state what event comes next in the story. The teacher allows each student only enough answer time to determine their familiarity with the story. [In this way, each has a 'first' chance.] If the order of students is changed each time, the class will not read just the first part of the story, or that section they may be called upon to know. When they have all been called upon the 'first time,' then anyone who knew enough to answer in the first round can volunteer a detail from the story not mentioned in the first round. [NOTE: If anyone can participate in the second round whether they knew the story well or not, students will only scan the story for a few specific details.] In the 'second' round these details do not need to be in chronological order. The first who answer may not be too challenged but eventually as details are 'used,' the oral quiz becomes more challenging. No one should be allowed a third turn until all have had a chance to answer in the second round. Then when all students have had a second turn, a third round is started. Students who successfully answered the second round, can volunteer an answer for the third round. The third round usually tests everyone's memory and the students who can answer those 'questions' feel satisfied with their work. They receive a 'C' for a successful first round question, a 'B' for the second round, and an 'A' for the third round. After you give the first quiz of this type some students may feel that it was unfair since they didn't know what to study for, etc. Tell them the first quiz was mainly practice, but you will be doing it again and now they know how the procedure works. There are two factors to consider when giving this type of quiz. First, it does work better than written ones because the whole class knows who has studied and those students who haven't, and many don't want everyone to know that they haven't studied day after day. Also those who complain about the teachers' unfairness or bias for their low

not just with each other but to become heard by the teacher. the teacher.. It would be clearer to the students if they had read it. instead of calling on students to participate.grades don't have that excuse because everyone can see for themselves how prepared the 'complainer' is. Then they have to learn to be quiet when someone else is talking. or to not have discussions. After they learn to take turns. Then the teacher expends energy trying to fit these students' comments acceptably and supportively into the discussion when the student and much of the rest of the class knows that the teacher is being misled. a teacher has several choices. then when everyone wants to answer. and then ask the next question. 2. The English Teacher Effective Discussion Discussion Tips 1. and then call on two or three to read their comments. They should be reasonable and doable. Then they can learn to take turns. this oral quiz works quite well in motivating a class to read their daily homework assignments. sometimes a discussion needs to keep moving because the teacher has a goal to reach by the end of the class period. So therefore in-class time may have to be allotted to students to read the material in order to have meaningful class discussions. There is no better time than the first day to establish these rules.) However. 4. In summary then. One is to simply listen to each student in turn until everyone has had their turn. or to become angry and stressed at those who didn't read the material and those with unsuitable answers.) A teacher can not have effective discussions if the class has not read the material.. could ask them to write their comments [call them ideas rather than comments] on paper. 3. The English Teacher Classroom Rules for Behavior & Seating Charts The very first thing a teacher should do in a new class is to establish behavior rules. Some students become adept at listening to other students' comments and making a general comment sound relevant to the subject being discussed without themselves first having read the material. .) The teacher's choice may be to allow students the time for reading the material to be discussed. they enter the stage above where they are willing to take turns. and the average class 'in the real world' may not do much homework. perhaps even better ideas.. The second factor is that the teacher has to know the story very well to conduct this type of quiz. if their turn is soon.) Note: there are several stages in teaching a class how to have discussions.. The 'write down your ideas' technique above can get students used to the fact that they may not be able to answer every question and also they may become aware that other class members may also have good ideas. 5. A class may start out simply talking to each other.. if not first.) When a class discussion has too much 'energy' and everyone wants to talk at once. If a teacher does need to move the discussion on. Then students who don't get to have their 'say' on the first question will realize that they may get the chance on the next question. The teacher wonders why the students don't understand the material that seems so clear. One has to allow the average class time to read the material. The teacher can not go to the book or notes to check details that students are expected to know without them.

That is. makes some unhappy with the changes. This understanding is particularly useful when dealing with 'kinesthetic' students who are often those who first need discipline. as they may have been since kindergarten. for the actual seating of the students because it is easy for the students to understand where to go. and put a mark into the gradebook to certify that they read and have the rules. Once the momentum starts. and ask them to return the original. *Again. so that they will understand and remember them. [If new students come in the next day. Then you may have to undo their assumptions before establishing your rules. On the first day students are waiting to see what happens.] You focus on that one student at a time. Have the attendance taken accurately first. already filled out. How can he/she object to being assigned a seat? Will any student be willing to go to the office on the first day for that reason? [If so. Move on to the next seat as the one student leaves. Do it calmly. it is important to have the class focus on some work in order to cement the transition they just went through. you will be establishing control. Then announce. the next one starts coming to it. the name of the student who is to sit there. students can be assigned from the bottom left corner of the seating chart to the upper right corner. it will move smoothly even though some may be losing seats they thought that they had. are placed in the front of the class.. in the back of your mind. you are controlling the class. are glad not to have to sit there. Then a seating chart. The student already sitting there will be willing to leave. As a result. you should have a not too difficult homework assignment for them. The first day is better. standing by the first seat to be assigned [the front left hand corner] announce to the class that in your classes you have assigned seating.. They write down class rules as I read them and comment on them. This "take out the book" behavior is established habit so it helps in getting them past any feelings about their new seating positions.. To avoid placing students in the class alphabetically. If you get done with the rules before the end of class. Check to see whether they did copy them. . and that student will have a "mark against them" in the principal's office for unreasonable actions. students can be assigned alphabetically in diagonal row order. How to do: When you take attendance the first day.First. You assign the first row across. This change may prevent routine behavior learned in earlier years from being easily reestablished in a new classroom. When a seating chart is established later. point to it. on the First Day the students are waiting to see what will happen. and signals that the teacher is having difficulty controlling the class. Look at the *seat*. Generally students don't want to sit in the front of the class. next to friends. The student who is assigned to that first seat may not be happy. or in the back of the room. pointing to that desk. Then. You are not focusing on controlling the entire class. or are. *Then later they can not claim that they didn't know what a particular rule was. attendance should be taken. The assignments can work upward or downward from there. The others. They are all hoping they won't have to sit in the next seat [to that student's left. rather. etc. Once they are all assigned. I tell students to take out their notebooks and write down the class rules. you can give them a copy of the class rules to copy into their notebooks. The purpose is simply not to have the same people sitting next to each other who are very familiar with each other.' may be seated in the back of the class and some whose names usually come later. students with 'early alphabet names. to keep their good behavior in the process of being established for the entire class period. diagonally. A seating chart the first day establishes that the teacher is in charge of the physical environment of the classroom as well as the academic environment. The seating chart. they will begin to assume what the rules will be. it disrupts at least some of the students in their routines. the second row across. on the First Day students are waiting to see what will happen. the third row across. If they don't get the rules that first day. but the focus is one seat at a time. according to past experiences. one student at a time. you can ignore some noise and problems as you call out the names and fill out the attendance sheet. but remember. is part of their first day experience. except the one whose name has been called. And giving the rules is a good transition exercise. should be used..

Assignments are due the morning of an excused absence such as a field trip. hand them a copy of the rules and ask them to copy them into their notebook and show you when they have done so. [While they are writing their homework. 12.even if the absence is excused. [Placed in a Study Hall] 9. Save all notes until the end of class. pen. the next year and the next will be easier. and one of their first defenses when they don't follow instructions is that they didn't know or weren't told. BEHAVIOR RULES 1. Classroom standards begin upon entering the room.] . 5. Extra credit work may be given when all other assignments are completed on time. but a significant percentage will require some further efforts. 7. when the student leaves from school. the rules. Actions that disrupt the educational process such as belittling others and speaking out of turn are not acceptable behavior. Again. Make a note in your grade book that they have seen and copied the rules. when new students come in after the class rules have been given. 10. 8. certainly not all students who arrive late in the school year will be problems. you can already begin to look at the seating chart and to learn students' names. 2. Students are to bring notebook. Absences can affect the grades. teachers should design rules that fit their priorities and personalities. However. [Note.not when the bell rings. (One to one writing help is quite effective. Trim edges from spiral notebooks. 6.] Once you have established your rules and your reputation for following them. pencil. 4. and paper to class each day. Often. Make up missed work promptly. [EMPHASIZE] 3. students with discipline problems transfer in later in the year. One grade will be deducted for each day an assignment is late. Whatever the assignment. The following are classroom rules that I have found useful and effective. All class assignments are to be done in ink unless the class is otherwise instructed. Bring a paperback book to class to read when you finish the assigned work before the others. Students needing extra help are encouraged to come in promptly and get it. Students falling behind in their studies may be structured. etc. and have them return the printed copy to you. The class is responsible to know and follow the standards of behavior set forth in the student handbook including the policy regarding tardiness to class. athletic event. one that is not quite typical may work best for this time.) 11. will spread. See Keeping a Grade Book Record This action may be very important to you. and they should also keep in mind school policies and procedures. Your skills will increase and your reputation for doing what you say that you will.In my classes the first homework assignment is to write out the answers to an introductory speech. Save all papers at least until the nearest card marking is completed.