I didn't even post in December! What??
Sorry for the radio silence. I have been a busy bee - along with pretty much every teach in America. My seniors have wrapped up our introduction to poetry and are now deep into Sing Unburied Sing by Jessmyn Ward. The juniors - AP Language - have finished their survey of the three essays on the exam and are now jumping in to a unit they helped me design - true crime podcasts! (As you might have inferred, they LOVED our True Crime week awhile back).
Regardless, today was one of those days where I just put all of that on the back burner. Moments such as yesterday are (fortunately) rare in our history as a nation, but they deserve dedicated time in class. For kids to process. To have big conversations. And - in AP Lang - to look at what role language has to play in the "real world."
Cue: Me, frantically texting my AP Language counterpart yesterday, rewriting the entire plan for this week.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a PLANNER when it comes to school. I plan months of material at a time. Struggling with anxiety, it is one of the things I can control, so I DO. (I'm the fool who has semester 1 planned out by the time school starts).
That said, one of the hardest lessons for me as a teacher has been knowing when things can wait. Obsessively watching the news last night and the stream of congressional debate, I found myself in one of those important moments. I immediately thought, "If there was ever a moment for kids to 'get' a rhetorical situation, this is it!"
We were going to revisit rhetorical analysis next week anyways, so I cut that stuff out. Pushed back today's work. Then, threw together a quick graphic organizer for them to practice identifying rhetorical choices:
I started class with a brief overview of yesterday's events. (A DIFFICULT task when you are trying to appear objective and unbiased).
Then, we walked through the graphic organizer before I shared the YouTube playlist. In small groups, they watched videos together and picked out one rhetorical choice in each video - which they then explained as well.
Some of my proudest moments of today were when ...
1. I got to tell a kid that she can write like Tammy Duckworth too, if she just keeps writing.
2. Another student marveled that they put these speeches together under so much pressure, allowing me to tell them that there is a reason behind timed writes and healthy pressure. (That it brings out our best at times!)
3. Two girls who have struggled all year FINALLY picked out a rhetorical choice on their own! And beamed with pride that they did it!
To put it simply, it was a really great day in AP Lang, and I actually think the kids will remember it.
What else can you ask for mid-pandemic? Am I right?