I never have enough time to teach everything I want to teach — at least not the way I want to teach it. I have found myself frustrated this year after writing some very good UbD units, only to find I have to cut out parts in order to finish the work in the amount of time I have available. I have also had to contend with Jewish holidays, our peculiar school schedule, and shorter class periods. When I taught public school, each class period was at least 50 minutes long. My classes work out to be 45 minutes long each day (one day is a double period of 90 minutes, but we have class only four days of week, so the average is 45 minutes). Five minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a week, that’s an average of nearly a half hour. I just don’t feel as though I really do justice to some of the topics I teach as a result.
How do you cope with the time crunch?
I am once again teaching The Odyssey. I have posted my UbD plan for this unit over at the UbD Educators wiki. The unit plan is not different from what I’ve done with The Odyssey in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever framed it with essential questions. Incidentally, inspired by Tom from Bionic Teaching, I have decided to integrate Google Earth into the project for the first time. I need to do some more playing with Google Earth so I can figure out how it works, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I think it will be a good tool for us.
The performance assessment is a project detailed in English Journal, “Bringing Homer’s Odyssey Up to Date: An Alternative Assessment,” Vol. 86 No. 1, pp. 65-68, Jan 1997. I was a student teacher when I first used it (the 1996-1997 year was my student teaching year), and I have always had great success with it. If you teach The Odyssey, I highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of that article. I am going to have the students chart their own Odysseus’ journey using Google Earth. I am contemplating publication online through a blog or wiki or some other type of website, but we’ll see.
Some months down the road after its creation, the UbD Educators wiki has fallen silent. I logged in today to find that neither changes nor discussions had taken place in the last 30 days. Yikes!
I take part of the blame upon myself. Having five preps leaves me, ironically, with not much time to plan, particularly now as National Honor Society business has take up much of my time.
Update, 4:45: I have a draft of the lesson for my Canterbury Tales unit up now.
Well, at any rate, I invite new folks to join in, quiet members to speak up, and previously active members (such as myself) to become active again. I think this kind of professional development, sadly, is much more valuable and important than much of what teachers normally get. I’m only sad I can’t get you PLU credits for it.
I’m going to start with a unit on The Canterbury Tales. Wish me luck, but give me time to finish it before you comment.
See you over there.