This week was five days of sharp right turns and putting the car in reverse.
Detour #1: As mentioned, last Friday, my kids did their first FRQ (JFK Rhetorical Analysis). Upon returning to school Monday, I realized that a large portion of them had not written more than their introduction and a body paragraph. I am a firm believer in not wasting my grading time on something I know won’t go well for the kids, so we decided to give them another period to finish and revise.
That moved Synthesis back to Thursday. No big deal.
Detour #2: My admin (well, my department chair) tells me that we are going to require all juniors to complete two ACT writing practices. (Awesome. I’m down.)
Then, I find out it has to be done by Nov 16, which would be right in the middle of my synthesis unit, so we duck and weave.
Synthesis goes on the back burner while we do ACT prep.
Here’s what Week 10 looked like instead.
Monday: Rubric Analogy Project Presentations.
Tuesday: Sample study (JFK).
Wednesday: Finish and revise JFK FRQ.
Thursday: Review scoring and look at two samples from peers.
Friday: Task analysis and prewriting for ACT. (I used a PAT Template my department put together that I will be sharing next week when we get into synthesis).
So that means, this week is far from what I planned. Instead of synthesis, we are going full ACT prep - something that I usually try to save for early March. The kids are going to practice the writing three times (as that feels most aligned to AP prep). They will also complete two diagnostic exams: one for each of the English parts of the text. Not an exciting week, but necessary.
This week is a great example of making the best out of an obligation. Teaching Sincerely is how I approach those roadblocks and detours that seem to get in the way of your real intentions as a teacher.
No. I didn’t want to do ACT prep this week. No. I don’t think it’s the best time in the year. However, Teaching Sincerely is about making the best of these hiccups. So - with synthesis in mind - we are focusing on addressing a unique task. That's why I pulled in the same prewriting template I'll be using with synthesis.
As much as I hate handouts from above, I have found some of my best teaching moments are born of adaptation and adjustment. These moments force me to think about why I do what I do and what needs to take precedence. It forces me to stop, rethink, and adapt. And that’s what Teaching Sincerely is about.