Experiments in Teaching

Monday, March 2, 2009
I don't know whether I've sunk to a new teaching low, or have just figured out one of the more creative (and less stressful) ways of teaching my English students story plot structure. After going over the structure of plot for the last week (and short story theory), I gave my students a worksheet to take home over PI break to work on. Well ... none of the worksheets came back (surprise surprise?).

Today, I figured, well, might as well just review the concepts and see what we all remember and work at trying to work through the worksheet. Well, we got through the theory review ... and just by looking at them I could tell that there was no way that we were going to be getting through the reading / analyzing part today, and they really needed a practice run that wasn't too taxing .. I dug through my desk drawer of DVDs and pulled out Futurama, handed out plot structure worksheets and we analyzed an episode of Futurama.



And ya know what? They got it! I did have to throw in several leading questions, and pausing the episode several times and point out that this was part of rising action and then asking what was going on. But it worked - my students understood what was going on. I think I'll be doing this a couple more times before we start our larger novel study and get them to analyze episodes for different things (characters, setting, plot). But whoo-da-thunk that Fry, Bender, Leela and Prof. Farnsworth could teach my students plot.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome idea Kenny.I think any way you can reach ESL students is a good way.Paul

Kennie said...

Thanks Paul! Some days it's pretty tough being in that classroom and wondering how much is actually being understood by my students. But it's days like today that remind me why I'm a teacher.

Megan said...

Whatever works! Steve uses music videos.

down south said...

Ya! One more "weapon" in your arsenal.

Jennith said...

My worst ever disaster of a lesson plan was a group work project that I spent and entire weekend thinking about and workingn out every detail and every contingency (save being needed in a meeting in the middle of it and have my master piece foisted on an unsuspecting secretary mid-stroke. It was a complete disaster and I think it would have been even if I hadn't been called to a rare midday meeting. I think the next day in desparation I made something up on the spot and it was amazing.... go figure.. kids are always full of surprises and sometimes you just have go with your instincts....