Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unit plans

One of the hardest things that I do is to come up with unit plans either for the future or retroactively. I'm pretty good with weekly math plans, but math is easier to plan for than English because it's more straightforward and logical. English is comprised of so many different aspects that coming up with a coordinated unit is more challenging that it seems.

Now I can usually come up with a single lesson pretty easily for both regular and block classes, but this is a bird of a different feather because everything has to be coordinated from day to day.

The first challenge was simply to come up with a unit to teach. I know that it's a target rich environment in many ways but it needs to fit into what was done and what needs to be done, not to mention fit into the schedule and keep the test scores up. It took me over a week just to come up with a unit where the students will react both verbally and in writing to several kinds of prompts, from political cartoons to pictures, a speech, poems (they will read and hear them) and finally a short story (one I swore I'd never teach).

Then I had to lay the plan out day by day and make sure I had 50+ minutes of potential learning built in. That got harder as the week went on, much harder which is why I used that short story I was never going to do because the idea tank was E-M-P-T-Y... but heck why reinvent the wheel?

It's pretty much done I just need to attach the materials by Tuesday and post it online for my class and then teach it the week after Thanksgiving. No big deal right?

On the plus side I was able to track down some short stories I had been looking for online. they were "The Yellow Wallpaper", "She Un-names Them" and "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas". The last of the three had become a quest of mine because it's a great story to illustrate scapegoating in literature, plus not every teacher in the Western Hemisphere uses it.

Oh and the poems I'll use? "We Real Cool" and "Dust"

And the short story? "Eleven"

And Karlana, you can stop laughing...