Teachable Moments Mean Dropping Plans

This morning I decided to toss my plans for the day to the side and completely revamp our day.  Instead of spending the day working on persuasive entries in our writer’s notebooks and how to take notes from nonfiction, I printed out two news articles about the earthquake in Haiti, pulled up this slideshow from the NY Times on the smartBoard, and printed out the one-pager from the NY Times.

As a class, we located Haiti on Google maps, read the article together, and discussed what the students had been hearing/seeing on the news and in the papers.  The whole lesson was eye-opening for them, and they were stunned by the photos of the devastation.  They asked what we could do to help and are spending the weekend brainstorming ideas as part of their Article of the Week activities.  Next Friday we will come together again and settle on a way for our team and school to hopefully make a difference.

Were my lesson plans important?  Of course.  Was it more important to seize upon the devastation happening and Haiti and open my students’s eyes to the tragedy?  Absolutely,  As teachers, we need to be ready to change our plans at the lsat minute.  We need to grab teachable moments and broaden our students’s world views.  We need to teach them to be global citizens.