I began eighth grade history class today with what I thought was a simple question: "How would you define 'American Identity'?" I asked them to take a few minutes and write their thoughts down in their notebooks. As I started to wander around the room I noticed that no one was writing anything. Even the students who are usually three steps ahead of me were staring at their papers.
I had stumped them. They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. And that stumped me! I thought even if they'd never heard the phrase before they should be able to figure their way around the phrase...right?
Well...we tried. I had an entire lesson that I was leading into with that one question, but there was no way I could move forward with it without them understanding "American Identity." So I was faced with that awful teacher moment...the one where you realize, "Um, an entire class period just opened up because I have no lesson."
Well, it used to be that I would absolutely panic or get completely irritated with myself or my kids. My response today: "Alrighty. I guess we'll talk about something else." And I moved right along to the next topic I could come up with. It wasn't the most productive morning for us, but I got through it with my sanity and my nerves intact.
My favorite part of my day was in the morning with my seventh graders. I asked them for some suggestions on how to convince a reluctant reader to keep trying, and they had some really great ideas. We also came up with a good list of suggested titles for Lee Kolbert's fourth graders! My students are adding comments to my blog with their ideas tonight. You can see them here:
Miss McMillan's Loopy Blog (so named by her students!)
I do so love blogging!