Standard Three: Planning
Overview of the Standard: Standard Three: Planning asks student teachers to:
(1) use effective communication as the vehicle through which students explore, conjecture, discuss, and investigate new ideas (RIBTS #8),
(2) create instructional opportunities that reflect a respect for the diversity of learners and an understanding of how students differ in their approaches to learning (RIBTS #4), and
(3) create instructional opportunities that reflect an understanding of how children learn and develop (RIBTS #3).
How do you determine where you are in regard to this standard? To determine if I am meeting “Standard Three: Planning,” I look at the ways in which I can convert ideas and materials into teachable lessons and into larger units or an entire course. To do this, I will prepare focused, thorough and sequenced lesson plans that make connections for the students to previous material, prepare a variety of learning activities chosen in order to accommodate different learning styles and a diverse group of students, make my plans clear to the students, relate individual lessons to the larger curriculum, use written plans, prepare a variety of communication strategies (questioning, counter-examples, etc.) in my planning, incorporate technology, where appropriate, in my planning, design lessons to accommodate individual differences (developmental, language, learning style or disability), design lesson plans that reflect an understanding of how students learn – how students construct knowledge, acquire skills, develop habits of mind.
Where are you in regard to this standard? I believe I am approaching Standard Three.
What have you attempted and practiced? First in class my co-teacher and I did a lot of planning around making our classroom a community where students would feel safe and empowered to do other work in the class. I think we were largely successful here. Then we dove in the content of the course. At first I focused most on trying to bring out the most important parts of the history of Africa and Sierra Leone that were essential to understanding the context of the text we read in class. I had to do a lot of research myself in these areas to make sure I understood the content as fully as possible which I find is essential to being able to distill the information down to the ideas that students need to understand and come up with activities that could help students understand the material.
My first attempts at relaying this information to students engaged more in exchanging information with the students and less with making meaning out of that information. I tried throughout my lessons to come up with activities that would allow students to make more meaning out of the material. I also tried to vary the types of activities students were participating in throughout each class and vary the type of learning modes and skills that would be built and utilized so that diverse students would be taught to.
In my opinion, we, my co-teacher and I, did a pretty good job of trying to incorporate working with different student learning styles—like doing visual or role-playing activities—while also working on developing communication skills—particularly written communication skills. We tried to make the activities of the day’s lesson build around a central topic that would allow the activities to connect and flow throughout the day. With our attempt at backward planning for the entire curriculum, my co-teacher and I tried to have a sense of purpose and connection to the essential question and central text of the course with each activity and lesson we did.
What have you learned? I have learned that exchanging information is not enough to get students to remember, recall and use the information provided, I also have to allow them to make meaning of that information through activities. And that to have them make meaning from activities they need more time to complete the activities and more structure to ensure they are getting something out of the activity—both of which I need to plan better for.
What are your goals? My goal is to develop my toolbox of activities to make meaning of historical and other content knowledge. I will also work on making meaning for the students in debriefing activities and planning for this time and preparing (and planning for) this structure.