Tuesday, October 9, 2007

W-A-R Lesson Plans

No, these are not violent lesson plans! For me, WAR stands for - Well Thought Out, Appropriate, and Relevant. If my lesson plans met all 3 criteria, the lesson usually went very well. Of course, this wasn’t a guarantee but the odds were in my favor. (Don’t you hate it when you have this awesome lesson planned and it flops? That must be how the producers feel when a sitcom bombs on TV!

First, I use my Lesson Plan Template (if you are interested in getting this FREE template, please email me at successfulteaching@gmail.com and put Lesson Plan in the subject area). This helps me think about the lesson as a whole including an overview, standards, objectives, procedures, approximate time needed, prerequisite skills needed, materials and resources, accommodations for differentiated instruction, and student assessment. I put a lot of thought into this and write down every procedure I plan to follow. Without using this plan, I might have inadvertently missed important steps. Included in the procedures are 2 or 3 enrichment activities, which is essential in case you finish the main lesson ahead of time. If students have too much empty time, usually there are behavior problems so I like to work from bell to 5 min. before the bell. Of course I vary the activities so it is not boring but they keep the students engaged. I like using this to make sure I have all materials and resources ahead of time and I also have plenty of time to think of appropriate accommodations for diverse learners.

By using the standards and the overview, it helps me plan for appropriate and relevant lessons. I always ask myself about the purpose of the lesson. If I can’t come up with a relevant purpose, I feel it is just busy work and I don’t need to waste my time or the students’ time doing this lesson. If students feel that the lesson is relevant, they will put more time and energy into the learning process. I have had student teachers who have taught some lessons that were not age appropriate for my students, which could cause a lot of resentment and uncooperative behavior. If I have ever taught a lesson like this, I always give the students an appropriate reason for this type of lesson such as, I think it is a fun way to learn this concept or I want you to be able to teach this lesson to a much younger student so I’m modeling the lesson for you. This helps the students know that you aren’t talking down to them.

Organizing the lesson beforehand was a big key to success with my class so using this lesson template was important. I was able to edit the template to tailor it to fit my needs and the class’s needs which was also important. Also, I was able to turn this in during my evaluations and the administrators loved using it to help them evaluate me. I hope this can help you too!

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