It was a dark day most of the day. The morning went as planned, but when students returned to class after special, it was clear that they were not ready to buckle down to the learning at hand. I surveyed the group and asked them to put away their computers and binders. I knew that clearing a space for learning would help. I also asked them to collect their division packets. I made a few seat changes to support better learning and then started the lesson w/speed and strength. I know that not every child likes a quick pace, but given the students' mood, I felt that a speedier pace would pull more along for this initial introduction to traditional long division.
For the most part, students followed along. A few were disconcerted with the hurried pace, and one or two had called it a day and were not attending as I would hope for. I tried to get them back, but I couldn't engage them and get the rest of the crew to follow along too so I decided to let them be knowing that I had time put aside the next day to review the material with small groups.
By the end of the lesson, a few were upset given the fast pace and redirection. Ugh! That's not what I intended. I wished they could have just let it roll knowing I would circle back to them tomorrow for more personalized instruction, but that wasn't the case today.
What would make it better?
First, I clearly need to make a few seat changes. Some students really profit from sitting up front and sitting with peers who can help them out.
Also, I need to prep some for the lesson earlier by making the time to personally let them know the expectations and asking how I might help.
And, I can ask teaching assistants to work with small groups outside of the room. That will give some personal attention and also lessen the number of students for the whole group lesson.
Finally when a child doesn't respond to redirection, sometimes it's best to simply let it be and catch up with that child later.
Every lesson won't be the best and every day won't be optimal either. That's the challenge of the job, but if we can learn from our less than optimal days, we will have more good days than challenging days to come. Onward.