We are finally finished with Shakespeare. Only one Hamlet act left to finish for my A week team and we should have that concluded by Monday. I am in complete agreement that Shakespeare should be taught as the Common Core dictates, but play choices should include other plays that are younger adult-friendly. I love “Hamlet”, but it is so introspective that many struggling students, especially English Language Learners might miss the subtleties and nuances of this play.
“Macbeth” or “Julius Caesar” might be better choices with their themes of ambition, loyalty, and revenge. I would also suggest a comedy such as “Twelfth Night or “Much Ado About Nothing” as I believe the students would understand the relationship issues that are explored within these play-so much like high school!
I attended an in-service day for curriculum planning and a look at the common final exam for seniors. Ms. A was out so I tried to fill in for her and offered some guidance on the test and ways to improve it. Much of the discussion with administration and teachers were around student leveling. Our school has two levels, honors, and college prep. Honor students must test into these classes but are not required to maintain a certain GPA. We have some honor students that received deficiencies this week simply because they were late on assignments. That is mind-boggling to me. Teachers assign due dates for a reason and not just for grins. We need the time to provide feedback and to grade for the term.
Within the in-service meeting, the majority of the teachers were advocating adding a third level to accommodate the weaker college prep students. The administration seemed disinterested in adding this third level citing studies that say the weaker students can get help from the stronger ones. I do see this help on occasion, but most of the time in the honors classes not in the CP classes where it is needed the most! I gave my Macbeth students a guided note packet to help keep track of characters, plot shifts (there are many in Macbeth) and allocated time in class to help complete these packets.
I encouraged pairing and grouping so stronger students could assist. I allowed these notes for the Macbeth test (open notebook) so if the student took good notes, they should receive a good and passing grade (I will report on that correlation in my next journal as we have just started to grade. Ms. took the tests to grade and I have the prep packages to score). I observed a lot of pairing and received many questions from groups and pairs as I went around the room to check on progress.
I had my first observation of my university supervisor. I expected a grilling and was not disappointed. I received mostly 2s and 3s( meets standard/ exceed standard) with only 2 “1”s which she felt I did not do at all. I know now what to expect for my next observation. Overall, it was very constructive and will not be as nervous for the next observation, scheduled for March 17.