Instructional planning is a key part of being a teacher. Planning a lesson is just as, if not more, important that performing the lesson because planning allows the teacher to make connections to stare standards and be prepared and ready. Teachers can teach lessons on the spot but it is ideal to go into a lesson with specific ideas in mind in terms of assessment and what students should learn and get out of a lesson.
This semester (Spring 2014) I learned about creating lesson plans through backwards planning. In backwards planning, the teacher considers the assessment and what he or she wants the students to know before planning out the lesson. This is an interesting approach to lesson planning and I like it because the focus is on student learning. I also learned how to create a Performance Based Task and create a rubric that matches up with this task for my backwards planned Unit Plan.
Another aspect of lesson planning is incorporating students’ interests and the cultural of students into the lesson. Culturally responsive teaching is important because it allows teachers to meet the needs of students and engage students by creating a comfortable and interesting learning environment. A simple method of doing this is to include students’ names in lessons and assignments. In Classrooms that Work, the authors note, “As usual, children’s attention is better if you make sentences about them” (Cunningham 41). I did not realize how powerful names were until I read my own name in Reading with Meaning! As soon as I read my own name on page 53, I perked up. Here was the sentence that struck me along with a bit of context: “Think, too, about children who know about certain types of stories. Caroline, Devon, and Nicole, like Adam and his dinosaurs, know about fairy tales” (Miller 53). I noticed that after I read my own name, I paid attention more and I got excited every time I saw my name in the following pages. I think that it is important to use students’ names in classroom activities because it helps connects them to the activity and it shows that they are an important part of the classroom.
I believe that I show my students how much I care about them and how I wan them to succeed by including their interests and lives into my lesson plans. I know that I personally learn better when I am interested and engaged so I want to incorporate this into my own lesson plans. Backwards planning is an interesting concept and I am not sure how much I will use it in the future but I do think that considering the assessment and what I want students to know before I plan out the lesson is an important idea.
- Cunningham, Patricia Marr., and Richard L. Allington. Classrooms That Work: They Can All Read and Write. 5th ed. Boston: Pearson Education, 2011. Print.
- Miller, Debbie. Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades. 2nd ed. N.p.: Stenhouse, 2013. Print.