For this blog post, I want to discuss some things from “3 Questions to Ask When Lesson Planning” by Christopher Lehman, “Planning a Year” by Bomer, “How Units Work Together” by Penny Kittle and “Planning for What You Can’t Know” by Matt Glover and Mary Alice Berry.
Right away, I want to talk about the questions addressed in “3 Questions to Ask When Lesson Planning”. First off, when lesson planning, it is important to think about what the students are capable of and how much workload they can handle. If students get too much work, they will become overwhelmed and shut down. If students get to little work, they will not be challenged. The amount of work can vary from class to class and even student to student. It is important to take past experiences and what assignments are helpful and not just busy work when working through the lesson plans.
When building lesson plans, it is also important to think about how the lesson outcomes will be beneficial to the student outside of the class. Being teachers, we do not want our students to remember something just until they have to take their test. The goal of the lesson should be that students understand the concept, see it’s importance, and use it in their lives.
In terms of an English Language Arts classroom, students should look back on their lessons and see how it relates to their literacy life. This is discussed in “Planning a Year”. Students should be welcome to look at their literary lives, in terms of reading and writing, during the lessons. As humans, we can make significant changes in our lives if we first understand our starting point. By this, I mean if someone wants to become a better reader, for example, they need to start with some reading skills they are not good at.
Something discussed in “Planning a Year” is the need to plan for real people. This is incredibly important because every student is going to learn differently. With this being said, it is important to have a variety of learning styles involved with a lesson and be realistic with expectations. Some expectations may change according to the student because some students are above grade level and some students are below. These accommodations need to be available because they are so common in a class.
When discussing units and planning, Scottsbluff has a very specific way of teaching English Language Arts. First of all, the curriculum we use for K-8 is called Wit and Wisdom. This curriculum is very literature and art heavy. For younger kids, I really enjoy having them exposed to so many different types of literature and seeing the connections between them. However, it is very challenging for my class right now. They are seeing common themes but are really struggling with the writing sections of the lesson. With Wit and Wisdom, every grade level teacher needs to be teaching the same lesson on the same day. The school district wants the teachers to follow the Wit and Wisdom lesson plans to the tee because it will be what every 3rd grader is getting in the district. (Hopefully, that makes sense). I do like the Wit and Wisdom curriculum but it makes it difficult if a class has to go back and reteach something. That is what some of the “Reading Target Time” sections we have are for but even then, it can become very easy for a student to fall behind. In the article, “Planning for What You Can’t Know” by Matt Glover and Mary Alice Berry, they discuss that a teacher cannot know what they need to teach until their unit actually starts and students discover on their own. Wit and Wisdom has these guided questions that teachers are asked to follow to help students understand what they are supposed to be seeing, but students will have the opportunity to make their own decisions about what they notice and wonder.
In Wit and Wisdom, there are four units that are taught throughout the year. Each unit has a different theme but the skills from unit one are needed to work through unit two and so on. The lessons within each unit also tie together very well. With each new lesson, there is a recap section where they talk about what they learned last lesson. For some students this is difficult at first but once they recognize what is being asked of them, it is pretty easy.
Berry, M. & Glover, M. Planning for What You Can’t Know. Retrieved from https://www.heinemann.com/pd/journal/glover_berry_s11_pdcatalog-journal.pdf
Bomer. Planning a Year. Retrieved from https://online.csc.edu/access/content/group/f15194b1-3620-4ba5-a5f5-8bec8b8da125/Curriculum%20and%20Lesson%20Planning/Planning%20a%20Year%20_Bomer_.pdf
Kittle, P. (2008) Write Beside Them. Retrieved from https://online.csc.edu/access/content/group/f15194b1-3620-4ba5-a5f5-8bec8b8da125/Curriculum%20and%20Lesson%20Planning/How%20Units%20Work%20Together%20_Kittle_.pdf
Lehman, C. (June, 2013) 3 Questions When Lesson Planning. Retrieved from https://christopherlehman.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/3-questions-when-lesson-planning/