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Always Follow Your Own Rules.

As I was writing the title for this post today, I realized that the sentence has some semantic ambiguity that should probably be clarified. Well, let me clarify the clarification first. If I put the emphasis of the sentence “Always follow your own rules” into the word “own” then one interpretation is to not follow the rules of other’s. However, that is not my intention. My emphasis is on the word “always.” When I make a rule for myself, I need to follow it. 

Here is why. If I am not following my own rules, I am not using what I have learned and being better. This is especially true in teaching. There are many things that I have learned over the years, and I’m sure that I will learn many more in the years to come. One rule that I set for myself a long time ago was to test every lesson plan before bringing it to students. Like a dry run or a field test. This is where you catch hiccups and problems and loose ends. Today, EL 200 was a loose end. I caught it early on too. But it was too little too late. The ball was in motion. Sure, it started great. I had the students doing silent reading and I used that time to take running records of each student as they read. However, the transition came and the whole plan went kaput like a silent fart. Why? Because the idea in the textbook is ridiculous! Sure, it may work in some occasions, but not in this one. Not with this story. Yes, the story was great and I could have made it work. In fact, I can still make the story worth while. The exposure to new vocabulary and background knowledge is an important part of learning and language. But the strategy of asking questions from a biography is not easily taught or used when using this particular type of text. There were no bold words, titles, subtitles, or images for students to use to create questions. It was simply a biographical text. The strategy idea stunk. Because of that, the students were aimlessly reading the text, and I was scrambling to readjust the lesson like trying to grab a fish flopping out of your hands and back into the water. However, it was still a good day. I was able to get some good data on the students and I saw my mistakes and can learn from them. 

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