I had my observation on Monday and I think it might have been my worst behaved class of the year. I was nervous and tried to do a bit too much teaching and the students who were already figity ended up even more boisterous. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I scheduled my observation with one of the most challenging classes in the school. It was a third grade class, and I was asking them to do a few things. The objective was that they log-in to XtraMath, assess/exercise with basic math facts, and then once complete, they were to choose between practicing keyboarding “home keys” or choosing a “Just Right” math game using Everyday Mathematics Online (EDM). I knew going in that the launch should be less than 10 minutes, but between the constant interruptions and too many teaching points, the launch took almost 20 minutes. Way too long, and I know that.
I taught the same lesson today to another third grade class except this time I modified the lesson so that the launch was even quicker. The class isn’t as challenging as the other one, so between the difference in the class and my modification, the difference in student behavior was amazing. The students were on task, accomplished all of the objectives and earned all of their behavior points (5). The other class earned a 3 for behavior.
Reflecting back on today’s lesson, I wonder if perhaps I didn’t activate prior knowledge enough, or rationalize why we are doing what we are doing enough. I’m not really sure, but it just goes to show, teachers really need to adapt to the situation at hand and be as flexible as possible. For these observations we write out these super detailed lesson plans, and I feel like I need to “stick to the script”. When perhaps should have sensed the lesson needed to be adapted and taken action, by slashing my launch to get my class back in order.
Going forward, I’m going to continue to condense my launch/teaching, while still making connections and making the lesson meaningful. I’m also going to work on being responsive to the situation, and work on being flexible with the plan, or even better do contingency planning which allows for flexibility. My evaluation conference is Friday and I'll update after that.