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.
My ability to plan focused and sequenced lessons has improved dramatically. At the beginning of the semester, I planned day to day and usually spent too much time asking myself, what I am going to teach tomorrow? Day to day planning was stressful. After discussing the issue with my mentor, he suggested that I, first, refer back to unit plan, and second think in terms of the entire week and ask myself, where in the text do I want my students to be, and what do I want them to be able to do by the end of the week?” Once I began planning backwards for the week, my ability to plan sequenced, focused lessons to prepare my kids for the summative assessments improved.
I have come to see my lesson plans as a tool that I can use during class. Early in the semester, I printed out my lesson plan but did not use it during the lesson. I quickly realized that without looking at it, I usually forgot to tell the students things and felt frazzled because I kept too much information in my head. Now, I use my lessons during my lessons. I usually write out exactly what I want to say to students, so that I can glance down, if I need to. I also use the lesson plans to write myself notes and reminders.
Each day that I teach, I try to connect the material to the previous and next day and tell kids why they are learning and practicing a particular strategy or skill. I have found it helpful to connect the skills and content that I am teaching to the summative assessments at the end of the quarter. For example, students kept a character diary from the perspective of either Romeo or Juliet as they read the play. I had several purposes in mind: 1. to help students connect to one of the characters by putting themselves in the character’s shoes; 2. to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the play creatively; and 3. to prepare students for the CD project in which they had to choose 3 songs that represent the feelings of Romeo or Juliet at 3 different moments in the play. My students knew when I distributed the character diary assignment that their diary entries would help them on the final CD project. For some students, knowing that doing the character diaries would be useful later on in the quarter was motivation to complete the diary entries.