Classroom Observation

I don’t know how this particular 11th grade teacher does it, but she defies gravity, well, almost. She has no sponge activity, no winding down at the end, but she consistently, year after year, gets AP level work out of students who are not AP and include many ELL’s. What she does have, and I admire greatly, are perfectly crafted and scaffolded combination reading/writing activities. She begins by explaining, then, for something as difficult as Shakespeare, reads aloud, has students read, listens to an audiotape, and/or watches a video. Students are very busy the whole time, annotating, crafting thesis sentences, finding themes, motifs. At the end, they put it all together in written format. And they do this every day! I have not witnessed burnout in this class, but I have in other classes where students are just doing tedious work for too long of a period. I know that it has taken her years to fine tune her assignments to the time periods allotted at our school. If students don’t get done, then they have to finish their work at home. Most work efficiently so they don’t have homework. I have seen many of the same students in other classes, but they clearly are doing their best work here.

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