I want to start out by thanking you, my peers, for your insightful feedback on my mini-lesson. I hope you won’t mind that I’ve decided to use this post to reflect on your suggestions and questions. All of your suggestions and questions addressed aspects of the mini-lesson that could’ve used improvement.
Here’s one of my favorite questions/suggestions: “Would you consider a ‘banned books’ unit? Maybe kids can further explore why books get banned and challenged.” This is a fantastic idea! It might not go over too well in some school districts, but I feel confident that students would really enjoy a unit on banned books. After all, young people seem intrigued by all things forbidden, don’t they? (I know I was!)
Another insightful critique suggested that I provide more examples of diction and tone, or even a handout that would give students an opportunity to connect samples of diction with appropriate tones. This piece of advice, like the metaphor post-it game we played yesterday, underscored the importance of helping students handle literary terms before asking them to analyze complex texts.
A couple of the other suggestions I received had to do with my close reading questions. One person suggested that I leave the first question (which dealt with the essentiality of the passage) for last because it involved higher-order thinking. The other person advised that some of the questions seemed similar to others. Both of these critiques are spot-on. For me, the “lesson learned” here is: take the time to sit down and answer your own questions. When I’ve done this in the past, I’ve discovered the flaws of the questions I’ve created and improved them. I wish I had taken the time to do this with the close reading questions!
Another comment asked that I not answer the “do now” question so quickly. It’s another unarguable critique. I shouldn’t have shared my thoughts, or even my knowledge about Chris Crutcher’s opinions, until everyone who wanted to respond was given a chance to do so.
Another helpful suggestion read: “[You] may need to define words like ‘profane,’ ‘controversial,’ ‘authentic,’ ‘unjustified’ and ‘contention’ for high school students.” This is absolutely right. I guess that’s the advantage of teaching a mini-lesson in front of graduate students!
Finally, I want to share one of my favorite questions from the feedback sheets: “What would happen if the students were given the option to ban their own choices?” How thought provoking! I chuckled to myself imagining the joy students would take in banning the books they dislike…
Thanks again to everyone!
Posted by SD