“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” -Chinese Proverb

Trying hard not to be intimidated by a room full of powerhouse teachers, was a lofty goal. Thank you all for participating and helping me through my lesson on Marriage à la Mode. Explaining the obvious is elusive: just when I thought I was explaining some aspect of a literary term, I realized I did not scaffold the discussion with explicit instruction, so my questions might have seemed ambiguous. In addition, I posted the assignment a week earlier than it was due, and, with so many pieces to look at, I was afraid that you all might have read it the previous week, so it would not be fresh in your minds. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

I think the lesson plan would have been more substantial had I reversed the order of my two integrative models: the concept map and the PowerPoint. Since my backend design was concept attainment, a more comprehensive plan might have begun with a quick introduction and student summary, prior to viewing the ppt. (In class, I usually go through my ppts. two times: once with the lights off, and then again, after disseminating the handouts, with the lights half on so the students can take notes on the prepunched pages.). Afterward, I would have had time to quietly assess areas of difficulty and get feedback from the class about ideas that needed further elaboration.

My assignments were buried in the presentation, and I think it would been key to be able to stop and concentrate on those, and on how they were structured. If your still have the handout, I would appreciate any feedback on the assignment (and on any other area on which you want to comment). We are constantly trying to collect a “common assessment” based on fulfilling the requirements on the SOL’s, and I wanted to see how my peers assessed the validity and value of this method.

Finally, (in a perfect universe which is currently inaccessible to me), I would have finished ahead of the bell with enough time to explain the concept map, the skills students use to decipher them, and a foregrounding of some of the major branches to get the class started. I had wanted it to be more enjoyable than laborious. I was really tickled when Todd figured out the branch for “symbols,” and some of you laughed.

[In case you are interested in seeing the fly-ins and animation, I will send the ppt. by e-mail. I am not a master of this venue, but I enjoy making them. To see all the effects, you have to be in full screen mode. I use a remote control clicker so I can be at the back of the classroom when students watch the presentation. I will also include the concept map. Schools can buy licenses, or, you can order the software from Inspiration yourself. I had it for several years and did not think I had time to learn how to use it until Professor Sample suggested the concept map as an alternative in one of our assignments. I think it is an elegant way for your brain to put ideas in place.]

The second to the last page of the ppt. has a wonderful video by Dorling Kindersley’s Publishing about the end of literature and publishing, as we know it. It takes about two minutes; I was intending to end with it as a metaphor for expecting and getting a lot more from your students than you had anticipated: http://clivemcgoun.net/?p=1924
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5 thoughts on ““Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” -Chinese Proverb

  1. abbie

    Deb—you presented a really interesting and unique lesson, so thank you for that! And it sounds like you teach in a really different kind of classroom, so it was good to hear you talk about what that was like.

    Now that you mention it, it might have been helpful to see at least certain parts of the Powerpoint before we began looking at the concept maps ourselves. I know that I was a little confused at first by what we were supposed to be doing with them (filling in blanks? making connections?) — but that became clearer of course as your lesson progressed.

    It was fascinating trying to understand the concept map itself — my mind doesn’t seem to bend that way! I found it very unnatural trying to make the connections needed to understand the concept map, but that in itself was interesting. It gave me a little window into how my brain works (and doesn’t work!)

    But enough about me — I thought you were very well-prepared for your lesson and gave us a good understanding of what your class was like, and how and why this lesson would be a good one for them. Nice job!

  2. deb56 Post author

    Abbie, thank you very much for the kind words. Teaching to the learning differences often gets ‘short shrift’ in the educational community and I think your enlightened outlook is promising for all Special Educators.

  3. Tim

    Deb –

    Sorry I didn’t finish the homework before class – I’ll write 100 time “I will do my homework” and send it to you!

    I loved your use of concept mapping. We use these in the lower levels of ESL – I can see their application in your classroom. Concept mapping helps ESL students get a “picture” of the parts of a story and how they fit together. They are a great tool!

    I also like your teaching style…. You have a very calming, self assured presence that I’m sure is a bonus with your Special Ed. class. You’d do well in an ESL class! Thank you for the lesson.


  4. Susanna


    I agree with Tim about your warm and calming teaching presence! I loved the effort and creativity you put into all of your activities. I did struggle to understand some elements (and branches of) the mapping activity, and I wonder if that was the point. When you let us know what the map was intended to do, it made more sense to me and I certainly paid attention to filling in the correct answers.

    I do wonder whether students might benefit equally from making their own maps, after seeing a model map created by the teacher. That way, students might navigate through stories more individually. I think I may have felt overwhelmed by the mapping activity because we each read and map stories differently, and especially because the map used symbols to represent different aspects of the story. I see benefits to using both teacher-generated and student-generated concept maps, but with the understanding that we each read stories differently.

    As for the powerpoint, it only served to remind me just how powerful interactive and creative visuals can be in the classroom. Thanks for sharing your slides with us, too! What a great resource.

    Thanks again, and oh, reading Mansfield is always a treat!

    1. deb56 Post author


      Thank you for the suggestion about student-generated concept maps. There is so much information to move out of and move into students’ minds, that I often get too detailed and leave less for them to figure out for themselves.

      I might begin to let go a little if I provide a sampling of templates from which they could choose and let them continue from there.

      You’ve just lighted my load and my outlook. Great!


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