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Critique of my first day Please? Soc. Studies


Junior Member
I want to describe my first day; could I have a critique if it not too bothersome?

Lesson plan:
Watch Movie Abigail (Rev War Valley Forge) 30 mins. Jot down 15 facts of soldiers. No specification to hand in immediately or next day or to work on thier own.

Class: Some move chairs to sit next to friends causing disturbance during movie 1st period.
My Action: Arrange chairs myself and make sure they are not moved for other periods.

After the movie, I didn’t have confidence they would sit quietly and do the facts plus they had questions onto 1) Why did they drag that soldier into the barn and start cutting him with a hacksaw 2) Why was it ok for the soldiers to steal the family’s pigs 3) What were they doing to the lady to cause her pain (having a baby wasn’t obvious).

So what I did was lead a discussion and in the discussion asked questions to the students especially the noisy difficult ones to reveal the facts. If I caught them being disruptive they had to give a fact with my my assistance though.

What would happen if you had no shoes and were walking miles in the frozen snow FROSTBITE!!!
What would happen if you had no food, vitamins, nutrition etc MALNUTRITION!!!
What happens when you are very sick with a cold or flu FEVER!!!
What was the color of the trail of footprints RED!! (Left trails of bloody footprints).

It showed the brutal reality of war and told them we have a lot to be thankful for these men who sacraficed for us.

So in a way I hinted and they guessed the facts. 15 facts were not doable at the time. We got 10 good ones at least.

I also volunteered that the soldiers had established Valley Forge as a symbol of American hardships and that although our spirits were low, they could not be broken. I also volunteered the Typhoid fever and Typhus fever as 2 causes of fever. I also described how we had no complete knowledge of microbes and sterilization back then. And it wasn't until late or after the Cival war that horsehair was boiled did infections start to decline.

Historical war facts are a big interest of mine.

I also offered a reward (reward pencil) to who could tell me the name of the 2 foreign generals assisting us (non guessed them) so I offered a reward to guess who this famous historical person was
“Tall Mischief Her Sun” They guessed that one.

Did I overstep my boundaries by getting involved in the discussion?
Should I have let them go on their own with the facts and hand in whatever at the end of the period all the while I keep quieting them down?
As someone with a history background and microbiology background, was it ok to mention areas not in the film in discussing relevant facts and hardships our soldiers experienced.

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Senior Member

The regular teachers don't like it when you show them up.
Answer; von Stueben and Lafayette? Neither of whom had ever actually been generals.
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Junior Member
I sensed that

Although things went well, I sensed maybe I should have been more straightforward (watch movie do facts at desk). I just keep things orderly.

I felt if I interact, I keep control better and have some fun. But I also felt obligated to explain what was happening in the film as it was graphic and disturbing to some that had not understand waht was happening. These ar 8th graders from the innercity and had some contradictory ideas of what was going on.

Im glad you responded because Ide like to get this subbing thing right.



Full Member
Good job!!!

I think these students were very lucky to have you that day. You sound like the kind of sub I wished I had. I have no problem with a sub enriching my students beyond what I expect as long as what I had planned was done as well. This teacher was fortunate that he/she had you to teach that day. Often a teacher will leave a movie with directions to write down facts learned. I think students find this boring and often are only half focused. I think you added to the content in a way they wouldn't have gotten without your discussion and I don't think you one upped the teacher at all. You showed these students that you are not just there to babysit. Good job!


Junior Member
That is heart warming jhteach

That was nice to hear. And maybe I'll see if I can get input also from the other teachers sometime in the future.

Some of the enriched facts were from the textbook chapter that I found interesting myself as I've alway been fond of our Founding Fathers and what they went thru to give us America.

Those are great words of encouragenent jhteach.


Senior Member
you did a great job!

Sounds like you were a wonderful teacher!

If you have expertise, I think it is great to share it with the students....only a very insecure "regular teacher" could have any issues with what you accomplished, and if the teacher is smart, they will request YOU next time!

I have learned a lot by trial and error, and it sounds as if you caught on to the "moving chairs" charade very fast. I make students stay in their seats unless the lesson plans indicate a lab activity or something. It is the only way to keep track of who is who--assuming that seating charts were left. (they sometimes are not---urghh!)

I ALWAYS make students turn in the video facts! It keeps them accountable--high schoolers especially will not watch the video unless they have to!

A lot of times, the teacher won't specifically request that the students write down facts, but I make them do it anyway--"Sub day" can often be interpreted as Circus Day, especially with teenagers, and it's better to be tough, and to make them understand from the get go that it is actually another learning day!


Junior Member
Thank Hindypo

Ok; the move chairs charade is one of their tricks. I'll have to think of a humorous way to tell them not do do the "Seat Shuffle on Me"

Its going to take some learning and books can only tell you so much. Definitly going to have some lessons of hard knocks.

Looking forward to my next sub mission. Up Periscope!!!