I enjoy planning for instruction! I liken it to a puzzle in which I take the pieces (resources) and piece them together to fit my needs.
I am concerned by the number of teachers who post complaints on Facebook, usually on Sunday night, complaining about the hours they have spent in lesson planning.
While I realize profusely that this is none of my business, I cannot help wonder about the practice of writing weekly lesson plans. Only viewing your course through short snippets seems to prevent understanding terminal goals or outcomes. How can one see the big picture by focusing one week at a time? If your lesson plans are completed on Sunday night how then does one prepare materials ahead of time?
These concerns prevent my indulging in such practices. I plot out the year by focusing on big ideas through a theme. That theme is broken into smaller more definite subtopics. Through the subtopic, I then attempt to match the Common Core State Standards focusing on those that help meet the essential question for the unit.
OK enough gobbledygook! Here are some specifics. The course is 8th Grade ELA. The overarching theme is “Finding New Solutions to Old Problems.” The subtopic is “The Holocaust.” The unit that I am planning for now is to be used in January for the third nine weeks of school. Instruction for the first semester focused on strategies to read and write informational text and literature. We are now ready for a more focused reading and writing in terms of “Argument.” During the course of this unit students will learn to read/analyze arguments as well as write a sound and valid argument. My challenge is as follows:
- Identify the CCSS that meet the needs of reading, analyzing, and writing arguments.
- Locate resources that demonstrate how to teach students to read, analyze, and write arguments.
- Revise those resources to meet the needs of my students.
- Adapt the resources so that they help students to understand the Holocaust and the anchor book, “Night.”
In future postings, I will share my thought process and progress for this unit.