My first lesson plan!

Last week, I turned in my first lesson plan, which included a rationale, applicable Alaska state standards, specific learning objectives, roles of the teacher and students during various parts of the lesson, and a breakdown of the approximate time to be spent on each section of the plan.

It was fun! And also harder than I thought it would be :/

I chose to focus my lesson on the introduction to "Of Mice and Men," in which I wanted to focus on ekphrasis — a kind of allusion — and the creation of setting, as well as the effect of these concepts/tasks on the novel (something that, obviously, students wouldn't be able to fully realize until they finish the book).

Remember the mice from Babe? Good thing Lennie didn't get a hold of 'em.

I knew the title of the book was based on "the best laid plans o' mice an' men gang aft agley [often go awry]," but I had forgotten that those words came from a poem, and I didn't realize it wasn't actually written in English. "To a Mouse" was originally composed by Robert Burns, in 1785, in the language of Scots, which is sort of like Old English, but isn't — it's full of words I didn't know how to pronounce. So I found a video of a Scottish actor reading the poem, and then a side-by-side translation to use for comparison with the students. I also incorporated photos of the Salinas Valley from the 1930s on the Library of Congress website, which I can't believe I haven't used before! (Or if I have, I don't remember.)

Then, for another assignment, I decided to create a five-question Kahoot! quiz on the first chapter, which I could maybe use on Day 2 of an OMAM unit. As I was crafting the questions, though, I realized that I would need to reread the book — and any book I intend to teach — before I could devise quizzes — or any other kind of learning material — for the rest of the chapters. This seems like a no-brainer, but it made me think about why teachers choose certain texts, and the importance, I think, of choosing books you actually like and have some ideas about, not just what you've been taught is "classic literature!"

(As Paul Ongtooguk said the other day, "White kids have been taught to learn stupid stuff, so they have a higher endurance for stupid stuff," where "stupid" essentially means "irrelevant" or "not applicable" to real life.)

Also, I noticed that the first questions I thought to ask on the quiz were to check reading progress, not necessarily what was learned or thought about; something like, "What city did they leave from" or "What are George's first words?" The answers to these questions, I realized, would not really help students better understand or retain the parts of the book that make it a (relevant) classic. By contrast, the answer to a question like, "What did George find in Lennie's pocket?" may clue some readers into what's to come (yay foreshadowing!).

So, anyway, this is being a teacher I guess. It's hard but fun and cool. And I get to learn, too!


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