A Letdown

After such a great first week I should have expected it.  But I didn’t really and I am disappointed.  My classes this week seem to be kind of limping along.  And I am trying to figure out how to change that.

This week I was having students write “Who I Am” poems. The basic lesson came from the MN Literacy Council, and it is a good lesson. But I didn’t implement it well.  I started out giving the students a list of adjectives that could be used to describe a person since the poems required listing adjectives. The list I gave them was way too long and contained words that were too complicated for my beginner-low intermediate class.  I wasn’t prepared enough to help them with the list.  It went better in my mixed level class where most students are high intermediate or above, but that doesn’t make me feel much better.

Part of the problem is that I was trying to make this fit into Purland’s You Are the Course Book mold.  He offers the option of alternating between the student-created texts and prepared texts, and I thought I could make it work.  But it didn’t.  So I am trying to figure out if I should just use student-created texts all the time or if I can find a way to make the mixed method work.  I know that I don’t feel as much in control of the lesson this week as I did last week.  And some of the steps in Purland’s approach just don’t seem to fit with this text.  But that could really be because I don’t “own” the lesson.  Last week, although, the students created the texts and I followed his outline, I really felt like I was in control.  This week, I don’t.

Judging by how hard it has been for me to come up with texts for the next unit, I really think that I would do better just having the students create all the texts.  That requires them to extend themselves from where they actually are, band it doesn’t make unreasonable demands on them.  That’s what I feel like this week is doing: asking more of them than it should.

My fear, I think, is that students will get bored.  That is not really a problem, though.  Purland offers a myriad of ideas in the books on his website.  I think I would be better served by putting time in studying those books than trying to find texts and figure out how to make them work.

So I will try to modify what I had planned for the rest of this week but not worry too much about it.  Next week I will be better prepared and class will go better.  At least I hope so!  I’ll let you know how it goes.


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