After some up and down feelings about my lesson plans over the last week, today was a great day!
I felt like my students were really engaged and focused and learning.
After the period was over I actually remember thinking, "that was a lot of fun." I really enjoyed helping kids today, seeing them understand what they are studying and making connections.
I gave my students a homework assignment last week to interview someone at a home, a parent or other person, and find out about their ancestry. We are doing a unit on immigration and I thought it would be interesting for them to find out about their own family's history. Well, today I was reading the assignments that were turned in and I almost cried (out of excitement that they LIKED the assignment)! Many actually wrote that they had never asked their parent about any of it before, and had learned a lot about their parents as a result. There are quite a few students in my class whose parents immigrated here from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Mexico, all within the last twenty years. One girl wrote about how her mom was illegal for a while but recently became legal.
Later in the day I saw a student who had been absent during my class (she said she had to go to court, again) and told her she could come by after school and work on her project if she wanted. Well, she did. I had been worried that she was falling behind, because she had missed class and is usually a little behind even when she is in class. It was SO rewarding to work with her, to see all the work she had done, and, to top it off, I asked her what she thought about this assignment, and she started rattling off all the things she's learned about Japanese-American immigrants (her assigned research topic). It was so great! Sometimes I think teachers start to wonder if students are really learning anything. So, today was a big boost that reminded me why I want to teach.