Reflective Teaching and The Lesson BOMB

Have you ever planned a great lesson, then become quite excited about doing it with your classroom only to find out later that although your intentions were admirable, it was somewhat of a flop? This is common! You are most certainly not alone on this one and the good news is, it is a powerful learning experience  IF you learn from it.  The learning from these types of lessons can only put you on the path of becoming a great teacher! In fact, a Super Teacher!! 

When we reflect, we are stretching our brains by analyzing, reasoning, problem solving and therefore eventually..... improving.  Sometimes, it is just something simple that needs to be changed. Let me share one of my own examples with you.

Back in one of my 7th and 8th grade classes, we were working on learning about energy. I loved teaching science and was the science teacher for 7th and 8th grade students. I used to tease a colleague who loved history and taught history to those same students I had, that science was far more enjoyable as 'it was happening' unlike history that has already happened. Well, on this particular day, I found a great documentary by Bill Nye to accompany my energy lesson. My unit had been planned out meticulously, or so I though, and was ready to go but I felt this video would be a great start to my unit as well as a good learning experience. 

One would think, with a great guy who is inspiring like Bill Nye, that all would be good, right? Not quite. My simple mistake and believe me, I never made that one again......I didn't set goals with the students about the purpose of the video. And, no different from when I was a student and passed notes back and forth (before cell phones) and whispered here and there because I could, after all, it was just a documentary the teacher asked us to watch.  AND, of course, I often missed the gist of the documentary. As did most of my students that day, due to my honest mistake. Like me, my students gleaned very little information during the viewing of that video. 

So, what did I learn? Establish purpose for everything, together! Each science video or documentary from that day forward, my students had either focus questions or response activities which were always given before the viewing.  Sometimes, it was a list of things to watch for, or questions to seek the answers to, or at times it would be followed up with a quiz which they were informed about before watching. 

Something so simple and I missed it! 
Reflective teaching helps us to become more adept at our jobs, remember to learn from those bombs and be the teacher of the class that you, yourself would like to be in.

By the way, speaking of science, I am growing the list of free teaching resources and worksheets for a variety of free science teaching ideas and much more over at for K-6.

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