Category Archives: Pacing

Week 2: What REALLY Happened

Between absences, delayed schedules, extended pacing, and surprise assemblies, class plans seem to always go astray.  So, here’s the way Week 2 really worked:

Monday went on as planned. Multiple choice Monday appears to be a great idea.  I used questions 15-24 on the 2007 released practice test.  I gave the students 15 minutes, but I secretly paused the timer to give 20 minutes.  Each question was worth 5 points, and they had the option of selecting only one answer for a shot at the full 5 or giving two answers for a shot at 3 points.  Students then were to reflect on how they decided to answer the questions and what scores they gained.  This strategy worked well because students do not lose points for incorrect answers, and narrowing it to two means they have tried and increased their odds.  They were told to use the “Letter of the Day” strategy for the final two minutes, but I noticed students didn’t do that.  Next week we are going to readdress “Letter of the Day” and focus on doing a preview of the questions to help provide a purpose for reading and annotating the passage.


Tuesday went decently well.  We used BAT the prompt, and students seemed to understand that if I’m scoring it and I am telling you to do this, then maybe you should do what I suggest.  Thesis statements and identifying the correct response or even what to write about was a struggle, and I’m going to need to focus on that moving forward.


Wednesday it went astray. Big time. If you don’t know your subject and verb, a sentence pattern is nearly impossible to get.  I ended up having to complete an impromptu lesson on subjects and verbs, scaling back to focus only on the base of pattern 1.  This took much more time than anticipated, and when student frustration ran high, I swapped to a very short focus on diction  in Lincoln’s address.  Analysis of diction went over much better than sentence patterns. First, students read and annotated for understanding. Next, they were to look over their notes and identify words or groups of words that stood out.  From here, they identified the words/phrases as positive, negative, or neutral.  Finally, they have to identify the overall perspective based on the diction they identified.


Thursday during tutorials, I had students take a quiz to match the figurative language term to the examples. I knew they had not studied the vocabulary from last week, so I prepared task cards giving the definition of the term in a complex manner.  This will appear in the TPT store as a growing bundle soon. Hopefully this weekend, but I have two kids and my (eegads!) Christmas stuff MUST come down now.


During class, I decided to bring sentence patterns back.  I wanted to do it through some other skill we needed to work on, so I scrapped my plans and did something completely different.  Thursday because the less-than-alliterative Visual Rhetoric Sentence Pattern Practice.  I found a few cartoons and had students apply guided questions to analyze them.  The answers were written, and then a final response had to be written to one of the four sentence patterns.  We repeated this with a total of five, one for a model and then a we do before independent practice.  Students were told to mark the subject and verb, including vertical bars between the sentence parts.  Mastery was much higher this time around, and I created a plan for tomorrow to make sure they have it.  For the last bit of class, we revisited Lincoln’s speech and identified and justified overall tone from looking at the diction that was chosen. This created a perfect opportunity to look at a shift in the passage and how that might affect the audience.


For Friday, I noticed I didn’t update the objective on the weekly plan, but that was okay because our day went astray again.  It was one of those days where something happened and the students were really struggling, so I had to scale back and revise. For pattern practice, I gave the students five sentences and instructed them to mark the sentence parts and then identify the pattern.  Once they did this, they were to create their own sentence of the given pattern.  This worked very well, and mastery of the creation was much higher than before. In reviewing student work, however, this is because they used the same sentence and changed names or simple details. In my mind, this is cheating, but I didn’t give any kind of direction that they could not do this.  Who knew that would be the result?  Next we moved into a discussion of an article they will be using for a guest lecture next week.  The students were to read and annotate the article.  Next, they got with a partner to discuss the article. For homework, they were to create the Toulmin Model of the text, identify specific examples of diction and overall tone, and then respond to, “Is this right?”


Not sticking to the intended plan was rather unavoidable this week, but I hope next week will be better. It is a short week as a result of the holiday, they will have the diagnostic placement testing for the semester, and we have the guest professor lecture of an overview of ethics.  This should give me time to post some of my resources on TPT.


Any suggestions to help me push students toward a higher level of academic achievement? I welcome your feedback.

AP Lang: Plans for Week 2

As should be expected, I had to make some modifications to the first week.  Alas, here’s the set for this week.  As you look at my plans, please keep in mind that this is the first time I’ve taught this course — the first time in 7 years it has been offered in my school — and I’m literally starting from scratch.

I welcome your feedback as I help prepare my students for success.

  Standards/Objectives Detailed Agenda


Bell Ringer: Through the study of fairy tales, students will be able to monitor GUM and identify the meaning of unknown words.

Hidden Agenda: Building background for allusion



Multiple Choice Monday: Through the study of an AP MC reading selection, students will be able to correctly answer the question, including justification for the selected answer.


Bell Ringer: 15 minutes

Caught ‘Ya (L11.1-3)

Etymology (L11.4-6)

~ G/AF: Sentence Corrections with guided questions with assigned weekly partner

~ Share outs (based on pacing)


Multiple Choice Monday: Released AP Exam 2007 MCQuestions from Joyce Carol Oates passage

I: Student are given 15 minutes to read the text and answer the questions.

(Ss may select one final answer or one of two for half credit.)

D/Ap: Students will review answers and write corrections with argumentative stem. (15 minutes)


Reflection Closure:

1. What do you notice about the MC testing? What will be a strength to help you? What will be an area to work on before the test?

2. How does last semester’s learning seem to fit into what you now know about this course?




Bell Ringer: Through the study of fairy tales, students will be able to monitor GUM and identify the meaning of unknown words.

Hidden Agenda: Building background for allusion


Thesis Statement Tuesday: Through the study of an AP MC reading selection, students will be able to correctly answer the question, including justification for the selected answer.


Diction and Tone: Through the overview of diction and tone, students will be able to identify and analyze denotation and connotation of specific text examples.


Bell Ringer: 15 minutes

Caught ‘Ya (L11.1-3)

Etymology (L11.4-6)

~ G/AF: Sentence Corrections with guided questions with assigned weekly partner

~ Share outs (based on pacing)


Thesis Statement Tuesday: Released AP Exam 2007 from Joyce Carol Oates passage

I: Students are given a writing prompt to analyze and describe the task in his/her own words.

2. Students will identify possible evidence for the prompt.

3. Students will write a thesis statement for the prompt.


Diction and Tone Overview (Practice 1/2)

O: Ss will REVIEW diction and tone as literary devices supporting effective rhetoric.

D/App: Students will practice identification throughout the scaffolded lesson.

Closure: Think about your answers and T’s answers.   What do you notice? What did you do well? What changes might you need to make?





Bell Ringer: Through the study of fairy tales, students will be able to monitor GUM and identify the meaning of unknown words.

Hidden Agenda: Building background for allusion


Writing Wednesday: Through the study of The Art of Styling Sentences, students will be able to write thorough and concise sentences.


Diction and Tone: Through the overview of diction and tone, students will be able to identify and analyze tone of specific text examples.


Bell Ringer: 15 minutes

Caught ‘Ya (L11.1-3)

Etymology (L11.4-6)

~ G/AF: Sentence Corrections with guided questions with assigned weekly partner

~ Share outs (based on pacing)


Writing Wednesday: Sentence Pattern 1

O: Ss learn sentence pattern one through short writing lecture.

D/Ap: Ss will create sentences using the pattern by arranging groups of words and when starting from scratch. Mastery 2/3 in each group.



Diction and Tone Overview (Practice 3/4)

O: Ss will REVIEW diction and tone as literary devices supporting effective rhetoric.

D/App: Students will practice identification throughout the scaffolded lesson.

Closure: Think about your answers and T’s answers.   What do you notice? What did you do well? What changes might you need to make?




Bell Ringer: Through the study of fairy tales, students will be able to monitor GUM and identify the meaning of unknown words.

Hidden Agenda: Building background for allusion


Tutoring Thursday: Through the study of AP Rhetoric, students will be able to correctly identify and explain the given device in the task cards. (Mastery 8/10)


Cycle 3: Through the study of The Crisis, students will be able to rhetorically analyze a given AP article, including analysis of diction and tone.


Bell Ringer: 15 minutes

Caught ‘Ya (L11.1-3)

Etymology (L11.4-6)

~ G/AF: Sentence Corrections with guided questions with assigned weekly partner

~ Share outs (based on pacing)


Tutoring Tuesday: AP Figurative Language Task Cards

I: Students are given 10 minutes to review the academic vocabulary associated with the excerpts on the task cards.   This is designed to help reteach missed skills, and definitions of unknown words are encouraged for learning outside of class.

D/Ap: Students will rotate through stations to complete a minimum of ten task cards each for a grade. Mastery = 8 of 10.


Vocabulary Assessment: Students will take a multiple choice assessment matching examples to the figurative language terms.


Diction and Tone Analysis

1. Students are given the text of “The Crisis” to look for 4 examples of diction that support the tone.

2. Students are to write a response describing the tone and providing textual evidence.







Bell Ringer: Through the study of fairy tales, students will be able to monitor GUM and identify the meaning of unknown words.

Hidden Agenda: Building background for allusion


Free Response Friday: Through the study of The Art of Styling Sentences, students will be able to write thorough and concise sentences.


Sunday News, Monday Views: Through the study of current events, students will be able to rhetorically analyze a chosen article from the weekend news.

~Note: This assignment becomes weekend homework due EVERY Monday.


Bell Ringer: 15 minutes

Caught ‘Ya (L11.1-3)

Etymology (L11.4-6)

~ G/AF: Sentence Corrections with guided questions with assigned weekly partner

~ Share outs (based on pacing)


Free Response Friday: Students will respond to an essay question as much as possible with a 15 minutes time frame.

1. Students will review the prompt and thesis from Thesis Tuesday.

2. Students will create a quick outline.

3. Students will begin writing their essay.


Sunday News, Monday Views:

O: Ss will learn the assignment expectations. (10 minutes)

D/App: Students will pick an article (5 minutes) and complete the analysis (15 minutes).

E: Ss will share with a partner for feedback (5 minutes each) and make revisions before submission (6).


HWK: Students will use the article from Mr. Goff to prepare for ethics overview.



End of the Week Update 1/7

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 12.05.43 AM

We actually did fairly well with pacing and made it through the plans as I had them set. Sort of. We had class meetings called, so I had to cut something. I decided to cut out the extra part of the class designed to fit the weekly structure.

The Caught ‘Ya bell ringer and etymology system is still working fantastically.  I love this system. As long as I teach, I will never, ever, ever use another system. The data speaks volumes.

We did, however, find time for a task card review of the definitions of the primary elements of figurative language that I want them to have mastered. I made them from scratch, and I promise I will put them in my TPT store and link them here this weekend.  Right now it is just the term and definition, but it will grow into identifying the examples and creating their own examples through the next few weeks. After all, you have to start somewhere.

For instruction, we did a SOAPSTone analysis of “Tribute to a Dog” as planned.  You can find this text at the website below.  We were able to read and annotate the text, move into a discussion about what he said, how he said it, and how it affected the audience.  Then, we completed a SOAPSTone analysis.  First, I had them complete the analysis individually. Next, they shared and compared with a partner.  Then, I had them write a paragraph to explain the differences in the student work and what changes they thought they might need to make to increase the quality of their analysis.  Then, I did what I think was the most powerful part: I showed them my answers and we discussed each of them in detail.  Why did this matter? Well, it allowed the students to see the expectations for college-level responses over the minimalist approach they normally take.

Text Resource:

In looking at student work, I needed them to focus on thesis statements and topic sentences, so I added the instruction of using the prompt as a sentence starter for the response into the lesson for tomorrow. And tomorrow we are going to watch a clip from The Colbert Report and do a SOAPSTone on that.  This will allow me to address satire, parody, and mockery in a quick blurb about a topic that is relevant to them.

Considering the learning regarding the depth of the SOAPSTone itself, I’m going to model it, but then I’m going to have students do it individually so I can collect that before I show them my answers.  For closure, they are going to complete a reflection on the quality of their work and how it has changed during the week. They will list differences in their work and my work in order to create a plan for achieving at a hirer level in the coming weeks.

Hopefully, this was as effective in the long terms as it appears to have been for the last few days.  If not, I’m sure they will get it. They are going to SOAPSTone the crap out of EVERY SINGLE TEXT WE READ. #sorrynotsorry #youllthankmeoneday


English III: Early American Origin Myths

Native myths 1

Our class text is Prentice Hall’s Literature: The American Experience edition. After having outdated texts for a rather long time, it is exciting to have texts which are actually designed with Common Core in mind. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time in the semester to read and discuss every text, so we have to sort of pick and choose the highlights of each period which make it into the 18 weeks.

{Now, if you are interested in the outline, you can find the outline of the course modules in my TPT store at}

Alas, the first experience our students had with the text was Native American Origin Myths. We spent a total of two days on this task, spending about 75 minutes a day. We are just coming out of an entire week on an informational text in which we painfully modeled every detail of close reading, answering text-dependent questions with evidence, and completion of a writing task, so I wanted to do something to make the lesson as engaging as possible.

Myths covered:
1. On Turtle’s Back
2. When Grizzlies Walked Upright
3. Navajo Origin Myth
4. Cherokee Origin of Fire (not in the textbook but included because this is used for modeling)

What do I want students to know and be able to do at the end of the lesson?
1. Explain the point of an origin myth.
2. Retell the origin myth.
3. Know what archetype is, identify it in text, and compare it across multiple texts.
4. Know what theme is, identify it in text, and compare it across multiple texts.

How will we get there?
We started out the lesson by reviewing common skills of archetypes, theme, and traits of origin myths. Fortunately I built the PPT in a way that if a student could tell me what it was I didn’t have to go in detail about it, but when they couldn’t remember archetypes I had that built in as well. Overplanning for anticipated difficulties is ALWAYS a good practice because it is better to have a plan for if something does not work than to allow instruction to fall apart because the students just didn’t have the knowledge you thought they should have coming into the lesson.
Anyway, I knew having the students all read every myth was going to be dreadful and boring, and there was no way to make sure that fit in the pacing. So I modified and divided the class in three groups to study an origin myth, draft it as a play, perform it, and discuss archetypes and themes across multiple texts. Students also were assigned homework to complete the reading guide and text-dependent questions, and students were held accountable for this with the included reading quiz for the second day.
Before reading I did a short story preview and vocabulary preview activity in which students reviewed the material and told me what they thought about the selection. This is such a change from when the teacher used to tell the students all about what they were going to read before reading it. By doing a story preview in this manner, curiosity increased and I think buy in and participation was enhanced.
While day one was mostly skills and notes to intro the period, we did have time for every student to complete his/her first reading of the text. The way I assigned the texts was in looking at the student lexile with some thought into the text lexile and the layers of complexity of the story. I printed the reading guides and wrote the students’ names on the page. Students were not given any sign of who their group might be until the second day. To round out the first part of the lesson, I had a canned closer of using a post-it note to create a Facebook status or Tweet based on the assigned story. To review the skill itself, I had students use an index card to write a note to an absent classmate to explain the skills reviewed/learned for the day. As I type this it occurs to me I should do that every day and post the best summary as a sort of learning wall in the room. I’ll get on that Monday.
Back to the lesson… students were to complete the next reading of the text and answer the text-dependent questions on the reading guide. To help them remember and hold them accountable I sent a Remind101 message to all parents and students in the class.
On day two, I reviewed what we had done and where we were going to go next. I created a model of exactly what I expected them to do using a new myth. Considering skills I had them tell me what the elements of drama were and what goes on a script. I showed them the myth and my script. Then I used students to help me act out the skit for the class. This was great because it allowed me to show my expectations and it allowed us to discuss the role of performer and observer in the room. I gave the students time and materials, and then they produced a script and acted out the plays. After each presentation, I used questioning to get the students to think through the patterns, characters, and symbols which repeated throughout multiple texts. As an exit ticket, I had the students use constructed response and text evidence from each myth to argue a theme in all texts.

All in all, this was a fun lesson with the students. It was hard letting go of control but the bottom line was that this lesson was probably the first time since I can’t remember when that I didn’t feel I was the hardest working person in the room. I built in character and team building, behavior expectations, and tiered accountability. If I had it to do over again, I would have revised pacing to include a more thorough discussion of theme of each myth and had some sort of reporting out format for the groups to engage the audience in talking about archetypes and themes rather than having to lead it myself. But, judging by the output, the students are good with being able to give a theme. Finding the evidence is something I need to build in future lessons for additional modeling and practice.

From American Literature Module 1: Beginnings to 1800 as featured in my English III course. The text referenced is Prentice Hall’s Literature: American Experience Edition.
If you are interested, these documents can be found at

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Staying Organized!

Teacher binder 1

Alas, summer has come to an end and it is time to start the new semester!

When I created my first “To Do” list, I realized much of it was paperwork I needed to do and keep in an organized fashion. This included student rosters, data, IEPs/504s, and class documents such as planning, powerpoints, student worksheets, and assessments.

For that reason, I created a cute organization tool ( This includes editable pages for you to use to make the binder your own. Better yet, if you want it a customized cover, send me an email and I will do it and send it back to you with the cute font I have.

For my use, I have a 3-inch teacher binder and a 3-prong substitute folder I keep in the back pocket for ease of use.
If you are going to create your own teacher binder, consider including a few of these:

1. Cover Pages: Front and Back
2. Outline: Includes suggestions for each section of the binder.
3. School Information
4. Security and Emergency Divider (include directions based on school/district policy)
5. Class Roster Divider
6. Seating Chart Divider
7. Class Procedures Divider ~ Includes editable “User’s Guide” for my class in case you are interested in using this valuable management strategy.
8. Behavior Notes Divider
9. Accommodations Divider
10. Lesson Plans Divider ~ For this, I track my lesson plans and print out my PPTs. You can add the file names to the footer of the file so you will never forget where to find a document again!
11. Standards and Objectives Divider ~ Here I have both Common Core and Tennessee State SPIs in a checklist form.
12. Curriculum Map Divider
13. Student Data Divider
14. Parent Contact Divider
15. Meeting Notes Divider
16. Calendar Divider
17. Pacing Guide Divider
18. Gradebook Divider
19. Evaluations Divider
20. Professional Development Divider

Next, I have a substitute folder ready to use in the event of a last minute absence. To create one for yourself, include:
1. Substitute Folder Cover Page
2. School Information Divider
3. Security and Emergency Divider (include directions based on school/district policy)
4. Class Information/At-a-Glance Daily Schedule Divider
5. Class Roster Divider
6. Seating Chart Divider
7. Class Procedures Divider ~ Include your classroom rules and any important schoolwide rules and policies
8. Behavior Notes Divider
9. Lesson Plan Divider
10. Completed Assignments Divider

Another item I have created but not yet finalized it the outline of the modules for English III American Literature. I plan to post this WORK IN PROGRESS for free in my TPT store at I have not yet decided what I will do with my weekly lesson plans at this point because they are so details. I wish I could just post the file to my blog for the few readers I do have.
This new content is going to be a huge struggle for me as I am re-learning this material as I teach it. To be honest, I’m about a week ahead right now but I plan to spend my weekends really marking up the texts and making sure I am prepared to teach it. I promise to post my files and lesson plans as I get them together and implement them in the classroom. I say all of that to say I may do much of my updating over the weekend, but I promise to regularly post my implementation process through the semester.

It is a work in progress. Any ideas? I’m open to suggestions.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Setting Classroom Expectations and Teambuilding

First Day = Half Day Introductions!

balloon 2

I was in an interesting position this year as I was transitioned from English I to English III: I needed a creative icebreaker even though most students knew me. We started class with a “How well do you know Mrs. K?” quiz. It was actually fun to see what students thought about me and why they thought these things. Basically, it was a multiple choice quiz with questions like, “Where does Mrs. K come from?” “What kind of dog does she have?” “What does her husband do for a living?”

Next, we did a fun balloon activity with our expectations. See, I have one rule. RESPECT. And we discuss that in our room, it is given until otherwise re-evaluated because if we all felt like it had to be earned no one would get anywhere.
The free plan and PPT can be found here:
Here is the outline:
1. Students complete a half-sheet question sheet with four questions: A. What strengths do you bring to this course? B. What weaknesses do you bring to this course? C. What do you need your classmates to do to help you be successful? D. What do you need your teachers to do to help you be successful? Students were told NOT to put their names on the page and to answer as honestly as possible.
2. Answer sheets were folder up and tucked into a balloon. We then blew up the balloons. As a vital step, all students needed the exact same color or balloons to avoid identifying the author of the page. I used dark blue because it also meant if the students wrote in marker, the color was dark enough to mask it so no one could recognize handwriting or writing utensils.
3. Students spent two minutes NOT letting the balloons touch the floor. In hindsight this should have been less because it felt like forever watching them bang balloons around.
4. Every student grabs a balloon. Students divided into two teams, popped their balloons, and tracked the answers to the questions.
5. As a class, we reviewed strengths and weaknesses. Just as I hoped, some student weaknesses were doubled as strengths. Worked like a charm to promote teambuilding and asking classmates for help during activities.
6. As a class, we reviewed expectations of the teachers and I was able to 100% agree to their expectations of me.
7. As a class, we reviewed expectations of peers. These linked perfectly with the strengths and weaknesses as well as the expectations of the teacher.
This became then became Kirk’s Classroom Constitution. Now that we have written one and they saw the effort that went into it, maybe they will have a better understanding of the real deal when we come to it.

Ideas? Questions? Comments? Please! This is my first time doing this, and I’m do my very best to prepare my students for the EOC, PARCC, and the future.


A note on pacing…

With the first week and the first snow days behind us, we will return to school knowing the honeymoon period at the start of all semesters is officially over.

Students have had nearly two weeks to get used to the course, and expectations have been taught, prompted, and rewarded. We have used brain breaks regularly, and behavior has not been a real issue – until they all received the text messages about the early release. We gained four new students this week, which has made the continuum of skills assessments challenging as one lesson has built on the previous lesson.

Academically, I must admit I’m relieved to have the snow day combined with the MLK holiday to revamp my planning and pacing. I learned the students struggle with basic literary elements vocabulary, the desire to complete homework is lower than I have even seen before, and writing is… just as excited as teaching and assessing writing.

Based on my assessments and student surveys, next week marks moving on to Writing Basics. This unit has been designed to teach students writing while working on logic and communication. By teaching rhetoric and reasoning early, it is my hope to be able to readdress these skills as we move through the remainder of the semester. My estimate here is about three weeks, give or take a snow day. And, thinking about pacing is the point of today’s entry.

Pacing is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of designing instruction. When I attended Maryville College, Dr. Simpson, Dr. Lucas, and Dr. Orren all touted the brilliance of over-planning a lesson. After all, chaos ensues when structure is lost and students have nothing to do. Starting out in education nearly ten years ago, this was acceptable. What wasn’t finished one day fluidly became the next day. When we finished early (as rare as that was/is), I extended the learning with an enrichment activity. Here we are, however, eight years and the teaching profession under more scrutiny than even before and pacing seems key to student achievement and teacher evaluations.

The first thing I have learned about pacing is that a solid teacher will teach bell to bell with all lessons starting moments before the bell. I addressed this in my Ten Minutes post, so I won’t go much further on that right now.
Next, I learned that pacing needs to move quickly through the lesson in order to address attention spans. For example, some research suggests students maintain focus for about fifteen minutes. To keep attention, try to plan you lesson in a manner where pacing is broken up between direct instruction (notes), guided practice, and individual task work. I aim for a shift in activity every fifteen to twenty minutes even if it is something as simple as a partnered shoulder discussion to process what we just went over or check a task we just completed. Try to have a coherent structure that is somewhat predictable overall but will keep students guessing about what you will have them do next.
If you are addressing attention spans appropriately, you are going to have to worry about differentiation for individual students who progress at different rates. One easy method for that is a “challenge” question or task an early-finisher can work on while the rest of the class works. This technique will also help with monitoring behavior, but you will have to find a way to keep students motivated to complete the challenge. Most students are not going to fall for the “This IS your job” or “You win by getting an education” argument. You’ll have to do better than that. One technique I have used to address that is by adding required independent reading in the class. Students are required to do SSR three days a week, and when they finish early they can work on that. During our grammar component, I copy a back side to the daily skill. Students who finish early can complete extra practice for one extra point a piece if the answer is correct. This may sound like a lot of extra points, but daily grammar practice is only 10% of the total student grade. A third idea I have used with early finishers is to assign a skill reinforcement packet based on the student’s individual weaknesses (from some data source to get parent and student support). Track this in your grade book as an extra grade opportunity, not extra credit.
While those ideas will help you with students finishing early, there are, inevitably, those who will work at a much slower pace than anticipated. This part was harder to learn to manage than dealing with the early finishers. Part of it was my fault because I was so desperate to see student mastery before moving on. Well, some of my students were in another class bragging about how they could intentionally fail a quiz or act like they did not know answers and I would go back over the same thing over and over, thereby decreasing the work they actually had to do. Hearing this was an eye-opener because it was true. When your students progress slowly, you really have to find out why to help them. For example, is he/she just a perfectionist? Is it a sick/sleepy child? Can he/she really do it? If not, where, exactly, is the dilemma happening? Rotating around the room can help you assess the situation better, but the bottom line is you have to figure out the problem and help the student reach mastery. Extending the deadline and talking with the student and parent both are good strategies.
Finally, pacing must be adaptable for the students within the class block. I can’t put to words how important this is because I am still working to master it. I’m much better at the end of the semester when I have better knowledge of my students, but the start of the semester is much like a guessing game because I need to be well-planned enough to scale back and reteach or skip ahead and move on at a second’s glance. To accommodate this need, start by breaking down the steps of any skill you plan to teach for the day. When I taught plot, I created slides for every single step – plot, character types, setting, components of various settings. Then, when I see students know setting, I just blow through it and tell them how smart they are as I pass through the slides. Typically, I am able to do this on drama and some persuasive devices as well. If the students know it, don’t be the teacher who reteaches it just because that is what was on the lesson plan.

So, pacing is tremendously important. So much so that I am still trying to work it out in my own class. Hopefully these ideas will be helpful to you or you can make additional suggestions for my classroom.

Now… back to reevaluating my pacing and planning my instructional delivery. The EOC is coming May 7.

Tagged , , , , ,