I taught my lesson the other day and was SO SURPRISED at the outcome of the discussion and the things the students had to say. I’m used to a classroom without any boundaries – kids getting up and walking out of class when they feel like it, refusing to do class work, fights breaking out, cigarettes being found, suspensions given out – but not this day. I took over their normal reading time, which is usually comprised of reading a story from a textbook silently, then out loud as a class – tedious and boring when it’s the routine every single day. I chose to read a book called “Feathers and Fools,” a fable about two groups of birds who declare war on each other and ultimately leave the habitat desolated, only because of fear and ignorance of the other group. The students were riveted by the story when I read it out loud, and attentive and responsive when I asked them to discuss certain factors of the story. I was able to relate the book to personal life in asking them if they had ever acted wrongly out of fear – to which they admitted! – and then we brainstormed as a class what we could learn from the lesson and how we could implement it in our own lives.
The facilitation part of the lesson did not go as smoothly as I wanted it to - I was hoping for a genuine discussion, with students responding to each other, but they had never experienced that sort of group-talk, so they usually waited for me to evaluate each idea and statement, at which point I had to call on the next raised-hand. I felt really great about the discussion in general, though, and I think it was a huge step in reading and comprehension.