Sunday, February 11, 2007
I learned something very important about teaching this week. We began the WWII unit this week and on Monday I stated by having the students first talk about what they know about WWII and then ask questions to drive the learning. I used the question model to begin a lesson about Pearl Harbor and the US entering the war. We talked about whether the US should get involved when other countries have conflicts, and most of my students had an opinion. We used that discussion to lead into a lesson about the US foreign policy leading up to the war, and then our entrance into the war. I felt that it was a good lesson and was glad that I had succeeded in stimulating learning. The next class period we did a lesson on the diverse people who were involved in the war, women, hispanics, blacks, Japanese and Native Americans. I did not use any questions to drive the learning only dove right in. I was dissapointed with their reaction. So I completely rewrote the lesson for the next day (they are on a block schedule) and changed the lesson drastically. Instead of being about diverse groups in the armed services, it became about freedom, and what freedom means. I feel like it was a much better lesson. I had the students write a parallel poem at the end of the lesson, and the "Freedom for Some" poem is the one I wrote to model for them. The moral is that questions drive our learning. We do not usually care to learn something that we do not question or that we already understand. I am going to try to always allow for questions to lead the learning in my classroom.