I went to a conference on Implementing the Core Standards. I gave up three days of my summer, because I know that implementing the standards will be the emphasis of this year. I wasn't thrilled by the quality of what we accomplished or what I learned. In fact, it seemed like the presenter was spreading one day of material over three.
(Who am I kidding? Some of the infantile cheers and activities annoyed the snot right out of me. "Ra Ra Re--We can read independently..."! Argh!! I will never use that. Ever. Mark my words.)
In spite of limited learning, there are some things I know for sure.
Changes are coming to Room 304. Some things I give up willingly; others--not so much.
1. I have to be less helpful to my students and let them struggle it out. (Fewer answers and more questions will be the new norm.) While my gut instinct might be to jump in and save them, they have to figure things out for themselves. This is where my self-control (or lack thereof) is going to come into play.
2. Desks in rows will be a rarity. Yes, it simplifies taking roll, but it does not encourage working together to struggle it out. *sigh! (My subs and custodians are going to hate me!)
3. Reading and writing will have to be more rigorous, show more thoughtfulness, and require more effort and research. (All things that sophomores resist. Well, all but a few.)
4. I am going to be finding new ways to keep track of student involvement in discussion and group work. (I can't let a few students dominate, and others slide by doing nothing.)
5. Assignments will be more project based. The end result will not just be a summative test, but a project that indicates a working knowledge.
If my conference had been more helpful, I know I would have a clearer view of what my classroom and English II will look like by the end of the year. Since it didn't do that, my research is key.
Where will I end up? Stay tuned.