lesson plans

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One thing I love about my job is that I have a lot of freedom with lesson plans.

I teach 12 classes a week. 6 on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday and 2 on Thursday. My youngest class is 6th grade and my oldest is 12th grade. This enables me to re-use material if it seems too advanced for one class or too simple for another; I can usually match it with the right class before the week is over.

The morning of my birthday, I taught a 12th grade class, so their English is awesome (better than my German). My lesson plan for that day was entitled "Write your own adventure story". I grouped the students into 4 groups of 6 and handed each student a piece of paper. The paper had 2 sections: character description & action. In the first section, the students were instructed to describe their hero, sidekick and villain (describing in detail their super powers, motives, relationship to one another, etc.). In the second section, they had to describe an event that took place involving the 3 characters (with a beginning, middle and end). In total, the story was to be 15 sentences and one student would read it aloud in front of the class before the end of the class.

My favorite film teacher used to recite this Orson Welles quote in class and I think it is one of my favorite quotes of all time: "The absence of limitation is the enemy of art". My film professor related that to how 1940's film noir directors managed to include sexual content in their films, while still obeying all censorship guidelines. I think about this quote all the time, even when doing things like creating lesson plans. With that said, I wanted to give my students some limitations, knowing this would enhance their creativity.

The limitations came in the form of characters. The students could not imagine their own characters, bur rather draw characters out of a hat. The "characters" were pictures I had printed off the computer of famous people. Once they drew their 3 characters, each group got to decide who was the hero, sidekick, villain, etc.

The first group drew:
* President Obama
* Brad Pitt
* George Washington

They chose Obama as the hero, Brad Pitt as the sidekick and Washington as the villain. This is a summary of their story: "George Washington is evil and his superpower is that he can travel through time. He doesn't like the way the world is modern right now and wants it to be old-fashioned again. He doesn't like that everybody loves Obama because Washington used to be everyone's favorite president. He wants to regain power so that he can be President again. Brad Pitt is Obama's stepbrother and his superpower is that he is rich. So he is using his money to protect Obama. And Obama's superpower is that he can fly."
The second group drew:
* Michelle Obama
*Edward from Twilight
*a werewolf from Twilight

The chose Michelle Obama as the hero, the werewolf (it was a photo of a werewolf, not any one in particular) as the sidekick, and Edward the vampire as the villain. Here is a summary of their story: "Michelle Obama is the hero and her superpower is that she is black. The werewolf is her pet and he lives in the White House basement. His superpower is that...well, he's a werewolf. Edward is a vampire and he is gay and he is in love with President Obama. He is trying to kill Michelle so he can live in the White House with Obama. But the werewolf won't let him."

The third group drew:
* Angelina Jolie
* The Joker
*Harry Potter

Harry Potter was the hero, The Joker was the sidekick and Angelina Jolie was the villain. I don't actually remember their story very well, but their vocabulary was amazing. They used dialogue in their story and Angelina Jolie kept calling Harry Potter "a fanatical little wizard". I was cracking up!

The last group drew:
* Beyonce
* Lady Gaga
* Shrek

Beyonce was the hero (I didn't even have to persuade them to do that), Shrek was the sidekick and Lady Gaga was the villain. I don't exactly remember their story either but I know that they said, "...and everytime the villain, Lady Gaga, opened her mouth to sing, all the little animals in the forest dropped dead.", which I thought was hysterical!

Jan said...

That was a GREAT assignment!! I loved the Michelle Obama one!! It's was so funny.

DiamondGirl said...

These students are so lucky to have a teacher that is creative. Sounds like your mother passed along her skills! Of course you figured out a way to include Beyonce!

Jessica and Patrick said...

haha, his superhero is that he is black. i bet your students love you!

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment on that superpower too. HAHA! This was highly entertaining. I want to be in your class! Twelve classes a week is a lot Jennifer...

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