Monday, August 18, 2008

The Script

Even though I’ve likened teaching to improv. theater – you still need a script. Some days you’ll be able to follow it fairly closely. Some days, there’ll be a detour along the way. Other days, you may as well throw it out the window and go for the “teachable moment.”

I’ve known some teachers who rarely prepare a lesson, insisting that they know their content well enough that they can “wing it.” I’ve never yet met one who is as successful as s/he thinks at doing that. The kids get the short end of the stick when teachers don’t prepare. Somehow, that doesn’t seem fair to me.

So what should your lesson plan consist of? Let’s start with some general questions:
  • What’s the “big idea” that you want to teach…. this year? … this unit? …this lesson? [Enduring understandings]
  • What should the students be able to do at the end of the lesson? [Objectives]
  • How will you know that can attain those objectives? [Assessment]
  • What strategies will you employ to get there? [Remember that students learn best in a variety of ways (auditory, visual & kinesthetic)]
  • What materials will you need to use? [texts, videos, web info, flashcards, journals, guest speakers/demos]
  • How many of your strategies will allow students to interact directly with the materials? [The greater the interaction, the greater the engagement. Learning is not a spectator sport.]
  • In what order will you present the information? [Look for flow and natural segue ways]
  • How much time will you need for each component? [Remember to allow for set up, transition and clean up times]
  • What will your madrich/madrichah (aide) be doing in order to help students reach your instructional objectives?
  • Before students leave, what opportunities will you provide for them to reflect on their learning for the day?

And finally, you’ll need to provide for your own reflection time. Here we go back to my big three questions (with which I began this blog in June, 2008):

  1. What worked – and why?
  2. What didn’t work – and why not?
  3. What will I do differently next time?

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