What do I know?

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Well, I’m back-tracking furiously this week, after coming down off the whirlwind of getting married a few weeks ago! I’m taking it right back to Week 7 (Sept 1-7), where we were asked to reflect on what we know (or think we know 😉 ) about lesson planning! Since I’ve been thinking about planning for my impending teaching placement, this was a pretty easy task. Not that I’m saying that this is right, or exhaustive… just that I know what I think I know!

What do I already know (or think I know!) about lesson planning? These are the questions I ask myself when planning…

– What are the learning outcomes? What do the students need to know? What do the students need to be able to do? How will I assess their understanding/abilities? How will I facilitate higher order thinking?

– What are the expectations in relation to other classes (team teaching etc) or other units (science/maths etc) that are linked to the content/lesson? How much time do I have to teach this lesson?

– What are the students’ prior experiences? What do they already know? What are their ‘stories’, what is the school and classroom context? Are there any topics of interest that I could link to? Are there any topics to avoid? How can I make the content relevant to the students?

– How is the classroom set up? Does the room set-up facilitate group work, floor work, desk work, whole-class experiences, rotations/stations etc?

– Do I have the required knowledge to teach and extend this topic? What are the likely areas of confusion, and how can I address this in advance? How can I extend this topic for students who want to know more? Where do my strengths and weaknesses lie within this topic?

– What have others done? Can I find resources from colleagues/peers? What has worked for them? What approaches don’t work for this topic?

– What support do I have access to? Are there any students who need assistance? What kind of assistance do these students need and how will I cater for that?

– What resources do I have access to? Are there enough to share around a whole class? Do I need to arrange ICT/Library resources in advance, or plan this lesson to coincide with ICT Computer Lab/Library time?

– What Plan B will I use if technology fails me?

Some of my peers are also thinking about their planning as well it seems!

It was interesting to read this post by JaneMichele, where she talks about lesson planning for the adult learning environment. While this environment has some very distinct differences to the primary education setting, I can see some similarities as well, and it was good to think about how students are really very similar across the spectrum of learning environments. JaneMichele mentions that she needs to make her lessons engaging and relevant, as her adult students can leave the room at any time. That’s a lot of pressure, and I don’t envy it at all; it did make me think about my students though. Disengaged students can happen at any age level – my students might not walk out, but they can ‘check out’ mentally, and this is when some of the disruptive classroom behaviours start occurring.

MelissaJHorne also has a comprehensive list of things to consider when lesson planning. Her list includes a few points that mine doesn’t, including thinking about the time of day (thanks for the reminder Melissa – timing is everything!), and the transition into and out of the lesson (could you imagine implementing a content-heavy maths lesson after PE and Music?!).

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