Thursday, July 14, 2016

Best Teaching Day: Ed Casal

Ed Casal
Socratic Seminar on Monster and Current Events
Literacy, 8th grade B level

My best teaching moment was when I did a Socratic Seminar on Walter Dean Myers’ Monster and current events concerning race and violence in the media. While reading Monster, students read various articles about double standards and instances of violence in the media concerning minorities and interactions with police. This happened around the time of when Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Dillon Taylor  were very recent in the news. What made it great was it was so relevant; all students came alive and were animated because we discussed something that was happening right in front of them. Students had to generate level three and four questions about each text and synthesize them within the seminar with text support. I had so many students asking why racial bias exists and if it will ever end; students also related our discussion of the fictional text and non-fiction texts to stereotypes. The discussion even extended past race relations and included bias and stereotypes concerning the LGBTQ community. I work with middle school students, so it is always in the back of my head in terms of how appropriate what each student will say concerning sensitive issues, but everyone was respectful and willing to listen to the views and opinions of others. I’m proud of this teaching moment because it reflects so much of what I emphasized during the year--questioning, analysis, maturity, and most importantly of all: empathy.

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