My Lesson Was Meh.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, "meh," here is the definition according to Wikipedia:
Meh is an interjection used as an expression of indifference or boredom. It may also mean "be it as it may". It is often regarded as a verbal shrug of the shoulders. The use of the term "meh" shows that the speaker is apathetic, uninterested, or indifferent to the question or subject at hand. It is occasionally used as an adjective, meaning something is mediocre or unremarkable.
I guess I'm using the 2nd definition as I feel my lesson today was meh (mediocre). Now, we've all had lessons like this. Here is why I'm writing about it: today I had observers. The new teachers in my district get release time (3-half days) throughout the year to go observe teachers. Today was one of those days and I had 3 different new math teachers in my classroom. I love having observers and I love sharing my practice. But today, I have to admit was a pretty meh lesson to observe.
So, what went wrong? Why was my lesson so unremarkable? It all started last week when I did a lesson about fraction strips. Students were folding strips of paper into halves, fourths, thirds, eighths, etc and doing great! It was a wonderful lesson and they all seemed to be "getting it." Today, I wanted to make the transition from seeing fractions on the fraction strip to writing fractions on the number line. I was extra excited because I had just presented about the magical wonders that are the clothesline number line at a recent PD. So I thought, "these new teachers will get to see me put it in action!"
Well, my first class of the day struggled. They didn't know how to make sense of putting thirds and sixths on the same number line. They were confused. They were frustrated. I was frustrated.
My next class came in and I changed things up a bit. I scaffolded the lesson a bit more. They seemed to get it better. But still, it was just kind of meh.
Maybe it was because it was a Monday. Maybe students were tired. Maybe I wasn't explaining things clearly. Maybe it's a combination. The one benefit of having this type of experience for new teachers to witness is that it gave me a chance to talk with them about what I was seeing that was going wrong. I got to explain teacher moves I was doing or changes I was making (on the fly) when I noticed things going off the rails. Those truly are real moments in teaching and important for new teachers to see as well. If they had come in and only seen a perfect, sparkly version of a lesson, perhaps that wouldn't give them as much insight into what really goes on in all of our classrooms.
Sometimes we have a meh lesson. The point is to reflect, identify what is going wrong, and make adjustments. Always learning, right?