I am beyond excited to team up with Teaching with Southern Style and Jen Hart Design for Chapter 6 of Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller. We are so excited to be hosting! This chapter gets down to the nuts and bolts of lesson design and I had some major reflection going on with my own practices.
I really had to wrap my brain around all of the information that was presented in this chapter so I started with the lesson design template that Debbie introduced. There are 4 key components on the first page to get you started in the design process. I simplified them so I could process the process!
What is the focus of this lesson? What do I want students to learn? OBJECTIVE!
Do you post objectives? We do in our district so I need to have them posted for each lesson throughout the day. This is one of those things we started doing a few years ago and we have gone from really complicated objectives to kid friendly objectives and back again. It seems we can never agree on what needs to be posted! No matter what the format, I do feel strongly that this is an important part of the lesson and an even more important part of the planning process. Before you map out your lesson you should ask yourself this question, "What do I want students to learn?"
Why is this important? How will it help students? PURPOSE!
This is HUGE (in my opinion!).....we use the word purpose in our classroom A LOT! I'm a firm believer in making sure kiddos know why you are doing something. I don't like being led down a road when I don't know where I am going and I don't think our students do either. Think about the purpose of the lesson, why it is important, and how it will help the students become better readers, mathematicians, or scientists. Regardless of the subject matter, purpose is always key.
How do I use this skill or strategy myself? MAKE IT PERSONAL!
If you are teaching students to read you are the expert in their eyes. You are their role model and they look up to you (really, they do!). Share your own personal thoughts on how to use the skill or strategy and that's really the only hook you need to get them engaged. This is where the science and art of teaching come together. You are the artist and a personal example of how you use the skill lets them know that you think this is important. The science of teaching comes into the planning process to make sure you are ready for that!
What connections can I I help students make? CONNECT TO PRIOR LEARNING!
Think back to other lessons that you have had recently or earlier in the school year. What experiences do they have with this type of text? This is a great place to list all of those ideas before you teach the lesson so you can have that mapped out ahead of time. Don't leave this conversation to chance!
Once you have your plan started it's time to get down to the meat of the lesson. How am I going to show students how to do all this great stuff?
Keep planning! Don't just jump right in there (even though I know you'll be tempted....or run out of time....or get caught in the copy room with a jammed copier....) but seriously, take the time to map out what you want to do and the delivery of the lesson will be all that much easier. Debbie asked early in the chapter, "How does everything just seem to come together?" It's not happenstance, it's teaching with intention!
Showing Students How: Modeling/Think Aloud
List your materials (and gather them!). Don't be like me and just KNOW that the book you want to use is right there in your teaching tub from last year only to find out it has gone missing. Did I loan it out? Is it lost? Does a student have it in their book box? Don't leave any materials to chance!
Showing Students How: Demonstration
What do I need to have in place before I teach this lesson? Have I already showed them how to do Think, Pair, Share? Do they know who to turn to? What if someone is missing? Make sure those procedures are in place in your classroom EARLY in the year so you can rely on them all year long!
Showing Students How: Guided Practice
This next section gives you an opportunity to make a game plan. Know what you are going to do before you do it. Will I have them close their eyes and think about a book they have read? When will they share with their partner? How soon before I have them share? Think about these questions and plan for them.
ANCHOR CHART!!!!!! This was a big one for me! Plan it, don't chance it. I love to create an anchor chart with the students and I really believe this is the PURPOSE of an anchor chart. It is our learning for the rest of the world to see. My OCD gets in the way of this all the time! If I don't plan it out ahead of time I run out of room, forget a heading, use the wrong color of pen.....you name it! If you have an idea of what you are doing before hand you will create an authentic piece of learning for the world to see.
You've taught the lesson, you are ready to let them go practice! Plan for that too!
I love all of the choices that are included in Debbie's template. First, those materials again. Make sure you know what your students will be using. For most of my reading lessons it will be their own books from their book box but there may be some other materials they need. Then plan out what students will be doing and what you will be doing. This will different for every lesson depending on what type of practice you need with the skill or strategy.
When your students have had their guided and independent practice it's time to come back together. This is their time to Reflect, Share, and Teach.
Plan out your questions for the students. What did you notice? I ask this one a lot, and I always get the same answer....."It was quiet....." "People were working...." We want them to be noticing things other than behavior (although that's always nice!) Plan your questions to guide them to reflect on the skill or strategy.
Phew! NOW you can go teach! This seems like a mountain of information to process and it seems really overwhelming at first but once you start you realize it's the natural process we go through when planning (or just thinking about) a lesson. The key to this chapter is that nothing just happens in the classroom. It takes intentional planning to create a classroom community of learners. A community that knows where they are going and works together to get there.
Reflecting on my own practices I realize that sometimes I have days that everything goes perfectly (because I planned it that way) and sometimes everything falls into place (because I am lucky). If I want more perfect days I need to plan for them and not rely on luck because honestly I'm just not that lucky! I plan on using this template to map out my first few weeks of Kindergarten to make sure I get off on the right foot. If you would like a copy you can get it HERE or click on the picture.
I can't wait to hear what you have to say about this chapter! Don't forget to visit my co-hosts
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