Practicum Journal – Oct 29

Originally, I had intended to chart my practicum journal with a little bit of narrative flair, shall we say. Unfortunately, charting my course with a daily short story describing the day’s events is not only entirely too time-consuming, it’s also not exactly up to expectations for this project. Instead, I’m going to shift the focus to my actual teaching and to more focused reflections of my learning.

The beauty of an online portfolio is that it is a living document. It’s an organism that grows with my teaching experience and can change almost instantly to better reflect who I am as a teacher. Thus my posts will now be formatted with a more standardized Agenda (a feature I had roughly implemented in some of my prior posts). From here forward, I will include my Lesson Plan from the day’s lesson, links to any relevant tools I used/created (these will also be on the resources page, and in the resources widget on the homepage) as well as formal feedback from my MT and then my own reflections, which take into account his commentary. 

29 October 2014 

Today’s Lesson: The Rise of the Nazi Regime 

Agenda

1) Lesson Plan

2) Myth-making Handout PackageNazi Regime PPT

3) MT Feedback

4) Reflection

Reflection 

Today’s lesson, as corroborated by the MT feedback linked above, was generally quite successful. As the subject matter becomes heavier (and likewise more current) the students seem to be growing more engaged. First, the closer history comes to present day, the more opportunities Kiefer and I have to implement technology of various forms to accommodate for differentiated learning styles.

Likewise, the darker and, perhaps, more powerful or even sublime (in an inappropriately perverse way) topics attract and sustain their attention more readily. Likewise, the students want to engage and work harder to deeply consider the ramifications of Hitler’s actions.

Our activity itself was, I think, very interesting to the students. Leading with an exercise in myth-making centred around Prometheus, the students were able to work into a heavy topic like Nazism using tools they learned through a more fantastical and less emotionally weighty story.

Similarly, based on my training in Tribes, today’s lesson (and likely most subsequent lessons) began with a segment called “Breaking News” where students discuss current events or personal stories. The aim here is to build inclusion and practice oral discussion skills. The Grade 10 students especially are quite rowdy following lunch, so “Breaking News” presents these students with an opportunity to speak openly with the class for a few minutes about topics that they are deeply interested about–unlike that boring history textbook (ha!).

Strangely enough, the students were more interested in discussing the Ottawa Shooting than popular culture. The magnitude of these events (and the importance of objective criticism of those events) made it an excellent topic for discussion in the classroom. I was excited and happy to have the opportunity to explain to the students the racism that motivates much of the commentary following the parliamentary attacks, as some students were quick to condemn Bibeau’s actions as “Ideologically motivated” and “Islamic Extremism.” In context of the racism that was used as a propaganda tool by the Nazi’s, this student-led discussion was extremely relevant and quite successful.

I should mention that the larger impetus behind “Breaking News” is to provide these students the tools to eventually choose and distribute for the class a news article for discussion so that students can work on contextualizing our history lessons within the modern socio-political climate.

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