Standard 3: Planning
Meeting Standard Three
"The student teacher's lesson plans are carefully written and detailed, noting content and skills objectives, describing activities, and noting special learning and diversity needs where appropriate. Lessons exhibit clearly focused, sensible connections from one to the next, and are designed to promote construction of knowledge by students. The student teacher takes time to explain lesson objectives to students and, using a variety of strategies, checks that students are clear about what they are doing and why they are doing it."
-Brown University Teacher Education Handbook
Lesson planning has not come naturally to me, but I have improved tremendously even over the past few weeks. The principles of backward design have helped me tremendously. By planning backward from my essential questions, I have been able to put together a more coherent unit and to focus on select aspects of a text with a goal in mind. One important part of this structure that I had not focused on before is an essential question or theme for each day. For example, in our unit on Beowulf I focused one lesson on Beowulf’s heroic traits, one on illustrated representations of Grendel, one on the concept of fate, etc. Each of these lessons contributed in its own way to my essential question for the unit, and thus all the activities had a clear purpose in scaffolding learning.
I feel I have worked hard to eliminate busywork or work with no clear purpose from our day-to-day activities. I try as much as possible to tie community-building activities back to the content we are learning and to structure final projects so that students have a chance to demonstrate their knowledge but are not bored or overly stressed. This attention to purpose is also something I am working to improve. While my lessons and direction are clear to me, I need to focus more on making the reason we are doing an activity and the objectives we eventually want to reach clear to students.