Sunday, June 8, 2014

Teacher Interivew: Lesson Planning

I had the opportunity to speak with two middle school teachers regarding their lesson planning process. Both of them have been educators for over 10 years so they are very comfortable with teacher and preparing lessons.

Questions & Answers:
1. How long before a lesson do you wait to plan it?
  • Mrs. De Flores – I normally plan 2-3 weeks before a lesson depending on how much I need to do with my partner teacher
  • Mrs. Whelan – It depends, sometimes I plan 9 weeks ahead and then sometimes I plan a day before.  I typically create a 9 week shell and then put in details as I go so that my lesson plans match the progress of my class
2. Do you lesson plan for the entire year, semester or month?
  • Mrs. De Flores — I have a road map for the year.  I plan from it monthly
  • Mrs. Whelan – I know what I am teaching for the semester (my class is a semester class)  I plan specifically 1-2 weeks out
3. Do you have common lesson plans with other teachers at your same grade level, or do you lesson plan on your own?
  • Mrs. De Flores – I plan with my grade level partner teacher.  We teach almost every lesson the same.
  • Mrs. Whelan – I am the only teacher in my subject, so I plan on my own.  I have the opportunity to plan with the other middle school health teachers on the general topics we plan to cover.
4. Do you always use the same template or does it vary by the lesson?
  • Mrs. De Flores – I don’t use a specific template.  I plan according to the lesson and whether it is a lab, a lecture, a project or a class discussion/activity
  • Mrs. Whelan – I don’t use a template.  I plan based on the what the lesson is going to teach and how it relates to the lesson before.
5. Does your school have any requirements for lesson planning, like template or timeframe?
  • Mrs. De Flores – our school doesn’t require teachers to show or turn in lesson plans.  We are required to follow the road map and teach the lessons that support it.
  • Mrs. Whelan – No, our school doesn’t check or require lesson plans.
6. What are your general steps for putting together a lesson plan?
  • Mrs. De Flores – I meet with my grade level partner and we discuss our road maps, how are students are learning, and then create our lesson plans accordingly.  We make sure we have spelled out how we are going to teach the lesson, the materials we need, and the time it will take.
  • Mrs. Whelan – I look at what the objective of the lesson is and what the framework state and then I decide how I’m going to teach it so students are engaged.
Summary & My Thoughts:
Based on my interview with these two teachers I can tell that a level of comfort develops after teaching for so long, however their process does still match the general framework of what we have learned during this module. I especially like how they both set up a frame work of what standards they need to cover for the year/semester and then use that to guide their specific lesson plans. They leave the details of lesson planning for a little closer to when they will be teaching so that they can base it on the progress or needs of their students. With building my two lesson plans I can tell that it may take multiple lessons for your students to reach and become proficient at an objective and especially a standard so I am sure once you are in the classroom your lessons will build on each other within the framework you set out for yourself. Both of these teachers teach at the same school so they do not have their lesson plans checked, but I know this will not be the case for all schools. I feel as a new teacher I would rather be over prepared than under prepared. I plan on creating a framework for the first semester and then detailed lesson plans a month ahead. With all of the information I need to teach down on paper I can then change things last minute, but if I choose not to I will be completely prepared. I will most likely come up with a system to review the lessons for a week at a time and make changes as I go. I would also like to create a system so that I can make note of the changes so if I teach the same grade again I will be able to look back on it. This interview also was a great example of one teacher having a partner to plan with and one on their own. It shows that you need to be prepared for either situation, however I am hopeful that I will have a team partner I can collaborate with. That would provide the ultimate differentiation for myself and my students! I feel that with these last two activities I have come up with a template that works for me. I am eager to be able to put it to the test during student teaching!

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