Differentiating Instruction for a Particular Group

In the first week of my dyad placement, my CT encouraged my partner and I to think about lessons we would like to teach individually and in my experience working with children, I’ve seen how much they can come to enjoy and appreciate poetry, especially if it seems relevant to them, or it’s done in a “fun” (read: “engaging”) way. So, I decided I would stick to something I know for this first lesson.

My CT was actually the one to suggest the following book:

as a way to begin a poetry lesson; specifically, a lesson on haiku. Now, I tend to favor poetry that is deeply rooted in American history (like Langston Hughes), but I considered the particular group of students I am working with now and figured if the teacher suggested this book, then maybe it’s suitable for the group and something I could still use with a multicultural mindset.

During a conversation between myself, my dyad partner, and our CT, our CT pushed us to think about how we plan with our particular group of students in mind. What are our goals–be explicit–and why are they important for this group? And how can we make sure that our lesson fits the school’s context and mission? She really pushed me to focus my attention on making sure there is very little direct instruction (especially because there will be “tours” for prospective parents thinking about applying to this school) so that students have as much, if not more, input and voice in this lesson than I do. I know this is something we should all strive for in the classroom, but I find it’s easier said than done simply because it’s easier to do all the talking and expect students to sit and listen. So I really have to keep myself in check here, and practice being the kind of teacher I want to be without falling back on the teaching I experienced as a student myself.