Many teachers come into the profession with one of two extremes – they have no idea what they’re supposed to teach and have to plan everything themselves, or they’re given a completely scripted and planned curriculum and have no autonomy. Both of these scenarios can be frustrating especially when these teachers are given little to no direction. Here are three areas to consider when determining what your students are expected to learn and demonstrate. They’ll help you get a better picture of your curriculum and make the most of your lesson planning.
What’s your why?
- Go back to your why for the lesson: what do you want students to learn vs. what you want students to be able to show you.
- How do you get to that why? What are the logical steps to get there? What are the gaps in knowledge that you need to fill?
- How will you know that your students “got it”?
How can you connect what they’re learning to real life?
- Students are more engaged and willing to participate when they can relate to or recognize something from pop culture.
- How can something happening in the news apply to what they’re learning?
- How can something that they’ve experienced apply to your material?
- Try to use analogies as much as possible so that they can make connections and get more than a surface level understanding.
What are meaningful products that they can produce? How does this affect grading and feedback?
- Is it really necessary for you to grade EVERY part of the process, or can circulating around the classroom, stopping with each student at some point, giving feedback, and documenting be enough?
- If students get real-time feedback, then you don’t have to give as much when you grade the final product. You’ve already told them what they need to know to be successful.
- If you wait until the end to give feedback, you’re too late. Unless you have them revise, they won’t take anything way from your feedback, and they probably won’t apply it to future assignments.
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