My main placement teacher had a great idea for a lesson – give some students some primary resources and have the students be historians and do history! Great!
I planned the lesson well enough, spent a few hours looking for good sources over at the library of congress, worked up a lesson plan with multiple forms of assessment, differentiated instruction, and all that jazz. It was only going to be a short lesson, 30 minutes. I’d talk for 5 minutes, and let them go.
Sometimes, reality doesn’t match my imagination. I should have taken a picture of the exit slips (and their work for that matter) I had them do. Several students said it was the “worst lesson ever.”
The lesson started well enough, we did a preassessment of primary sources, what they’re used for, what a historian does, etc. They understood that. But then I told them they would be historians, and they’d need to construct and interpret items to make a visual representation of a historical event while answering the big idea and unanswered questions while looking for multiple perspectives… (OK, that was a run on sentence. The lesson was thirty minutes, with five minutes of talking and a lot of answering questions. The point is, I don’t think some college kids could do the assignment. Either I was too vague, or something else. And here I am, chattering away in these parentheses.)
Part of me thinks the students don’t think of me as the teacher yet. I need to establish that ASAP. It’s hard as a student teacher, because I have to defer so much, but it is possible.
Secondly, I could have planned the lesson better, predicted the questions they’d have. Though I did want the assignment ambiguous. I succeeded at that.
Thirdly, this was a tough lesson. It was just plain tough. A few students said they could have used more time. They needed to know directly what to do. A few students tore up their primary sources. Some hated the lesson. But the worst response I got by far was: “I don’t have an imagination.”