Friday, May 16, 2014

How Do I Know What to Teach? A summary...

This unit was a great introduction into how important standards are for teaching and how we can use them to our advantage when lesson planning. I think each activity did a good job at guiding us to progressively break down standards and then formulating those pieces in a way we can use in the classroom. Standards are crucial to education. They help to make what students are learning at different ages uniform. This ensures that no matter where a child grows up (at least within the same state) they will receive the same knowledge at each grade level. This is especially important for children who move or transfer schools. 

Here is a summary of what I learning this week:

Standards and Backward Mapping:
Beginning with the first activity, we learned to generally draw information out of a standard and how logical it is to use backwards mapping for lesson planning. It gives our lessons focus and helps us narrow down exactly what we want to see from our students. The process will eventually be (Example): (1) Find a Standard, (2) Unpack the standard (3) use that information to backwards map to Lesson Objectives, (4) create lesson plans, (5) teach!

Unpacking a Standard:
For this activity I think the most useful thing I learned was from Dan during our VC. If you can identify three parts within the standard it is easier to then put those parts back together in a simpler format. A great example is one we did in class:

Example Standard: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
    • Verbs: Determine, Analyze
    • Context: in a text
    • Concepts: point of view, purpose, rhetoric
    1. Determine an author’s point of view in text.
    2. Determine an author’s purpose in text.
    3. Analyze how an author used rhetoric to advance that point of view in text.
    4. Analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that purpose in text.

This technique really helped me to understand how to pull apart these standards so that we can work with them.

Lesson Objectives:
I feel that lesson objectives are the most important component to lesson planning and teaching in the classroom. These are like a bullseye for your lesson and standard; what you are aiming for. The most helpful resource I found for creating lesson objectives was a list of action verbs. By including those into the objective it helps to ensure that you create something that is measurable, which is one of the key components of an objective! It is important to use the unpacked standard in creating the objectives.

From your lesson objective, you have everything you need to put together a comprehensive lesson plan that will help kids master the standard.

Here are a few examples of Lesson Objectives that go along with an unpacked standard:

Standard (1st grade, CA, ELA): With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed

  • “Unpacked”:
    • With guidance and support from adults focus on a topic to write about.
    • Respond to questions from peers on their writing.
    • Respond to suggestions from peers on their writing
    • Add details to writing.
    • Put all of the above together to strengthen writing.

Objective 1:

After this lesson students will be able to produce a short narrative focusing on a single topic including three main ideas/key details.

Objective 2:

After this lesson students will be able to listen and analyze peer feedback and make appropriate changes to their writing based on the feedback.

Objective 3:

After this lesson the student will be able to produce multiple drafts of a single piece of writing with each progressively improving, resulting in a polished final draft.

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