I’ve long been a fan of Tom Woodward’s insanely creative method of developing units, so when he gave the green light for an IronTeach challenge, I had to jump on board.

The basic premise of Iron Teach is based on the show Iron Chef America, where two teams of chefs battle to develop recipes that include a “secret ingredient” revealed shortly before the challenge begins. The dishes often fit a theme and the final results are judged by a celebrity panel who rate each dish on Originality, Taste, and Plating.

Iron Teach will follow the same basic premise. Two teams of educators (more if you’re interested in joining us) will battle to develop a unit or lesson plan to meet the requirements of a selected teacher. Each team will share their lesson along with the process they used to brainstorm and develop the idea. A panel of judges, including the teacher who issued the challenge, will rate the lesson on Originality, Student Appeal, and Ability to Meet Outcome.

For Battle 1 of Iron Teach, two teams – Team Milobo and Team BionicTeaching have been issued the following challenge:


The Audience: 2 classes of 10th grade General Level Literature students.

The Secret Ingredient: The novel “A Separate Peace

The Challenge (as defined by the teacher): Students are beginning a book discussion of the novel “A Separate Peace.” These particular students struggle to demonstrate understanding of content through writing, but have recently become more motivated to read and respond to literature as their teacher has incorporated audio books and modern literature into the curriculum.

The teacher shares that the class performs better when asked to discuss personal experiences and would like to incorporate the book themes of envy/conformity into the book discussions. These students in particular are not easily motivated to participate in class activities. Their teacher is looking for an original and fun way to have the students discuss and share while demonstrating understanding in a way that goes beyond writing an essay or taking a multiple choice test.

Two weeks have been dedicated to class reading and discussion of the book.

The Deadline: It’s due by midnight- Sunday, April 26th. Post the content to your blog and link back in the comments here and on Tom’s blog.


We’re making up the rules as we go along, and I hope that it’s something we can develop into a long term project, but for now, it should be a great way to have a little fun while helping out fellow teachers. If you’re interested in joining in the fun as a team member or judge, or want to issue a challenge for a future Iron Teach Battle, leave a message here or on Tom’s blog.

Game on.

7 Responses to “Iron Teach: Battle Literature”
  1. digiduchess says:

    I have never taught anything above 5th grade. Plus I have not read the book that these lessons will be built. With that said, I humbly throw these thoughts out there. I am sure you have noticed, that based on the description of these students, it seems they really do want to share. However, they want to talk about things that are real to them. Maybe the book’s themes envy/conformity (mentioned in description) could be the key to getting these students to open up and discuss. The themes are big ideas and if we were honest something we have all dealt with at one time of another. Could the discussion be centered around an ACOT 2 type problem? Maybe students become the characters in the novel and use the plot (or details in the novel) to help work on the project. It could become like an ACOT 2 Project with a twist.

    I do hope you all did not mind me getting my humble thoughts down.

  2. [...] the idea Milobo and I came up with a few days ago. It’s Michelle’s better twist on the Pimp My Lesson [...]

  3. [...] « Iron Teach: Battle Literature Apr 11 2009 [...]

  4. digiduchess says:

    This was fun and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.
    Here is my link
    http://digiduchess.blogspot.com/

  5. [...] more focused, objectives the lesson plan may be the way to go. I’m interested to see what Michelle, Todd and others will [...]

  6. LarryAnderson says:

    Just so y’all know….there are many of us out in Blogland who are watching with great interest the outcome of this initiative, as well as the steps along the way.

    Methinks y’all are going to create a revolution!

    Onward!!

  7. [...] you’ve been following this blog or Tom’s Bionic Teaching blog, you might have run across our Iron Teacher Challenge.  Our [...]

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