Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lesson Planning Structures

I'm working with a group of teachers about planning a differentiated lesson.  While discussing lesson planning, I realized that we go about that process differently, organize our work differently, create different styles of lesson plans.

I thought I'd compile a few planning organizers here ... none of them original with me ... only ones I've found to be helpful.

The first organizer might not be familiar to you unless you had the opportunity to participate in Quantum Learning training.  If you ever get the chance ... take it!  It's a nice blend of brain research and active engagement strategies.  In that training they emphasize these steps in lesson planning:  EELDRC or Enroll, Explore, Label, Demonstrate, Review, and Celebrate.  A key aspect in this lesson plan is exploring, experiencing before labeling!  So the plan emphasizes students engaged in the work before you give them the details, the vocabulary, the steps, the key elements.  I described such a lesson here a few years ago.  My example is OK ... the "enroll" portion is not tied in to the lesson.  It's a good activity ... just not a good example of enrolling students in the study of functions.

If you have used the 5 E's lesson design you notice overlaps with EELDRC.  The five Es include Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.  Notice in both of these plans students are doing math before any direct instruction.  Engagement and Exploration are key aspects of lesson planning.  Some might disagree with me, but I think that first step, "engage," is more than the typical "do now" or "warm-up."  It needs to create interest, generate curiosity, raise questions.  It sets the tone for the "why" in class!  The exploration is the problem solving, the group task, the puzzling it out on their own that supports student ownership of learning.  It creates the need to know more ... which leads into the "explain" section of the lesson.  The five E lesson plan model was created by a science curriculum organization and it plays out well in math.

Kyle Pearce writes about his four-part lesson here.  Notice the components and how they overlap with EELDRC and the five E's:  Minds On, Inquiry, Making Connections and Consolidation.  In his explanation, the "minds on" section engages students in thinking about the math that leads up to the current lesson ... it may keep the same content and/or context.  It scaffolds the learning about to happen.  Again the "most important" part of his lesson structure is the "Inquiry" ... or the "explore" from the previous models.  Here students are working together on a task, trying different strategies.  Pearce writes, "The overall effectiveness of the lesson is closely related to how well this part is planned."  As students share out what they discovered in the inquiry part of the lesson, the teacher guides the discussion to help students make connections.  In the last section, consolidation, students are applying all that they learned in the inquiry and making connections sections to more typical required math problems.

Notice that the organizational models above emphasize a constructivist approach to teaching.  What about "those days!"  As a math teacher, you know the ones ... the ones where you have to teach the nitty gritty steps to the "skill of the day."  In Algebra 2 there are LOTS of them!  Will those models work on that day ... yes, possibly.  For example, setting up the explore or inquiry to examine patterns and make conjectures leads students to be ready for the rules that you plan to explain.

And so you ask ... were does the traditional Hunter model of lesson planning fit in math class.  There may be days when the concept requires direct instruction.  The Hunter model has these seven parts:  Stated Objectives, Anticipatory Set, Input, Check for Understanding, Guided Practice, Independent Practice, and Closure.  Here I would emphasize the "anticipatory set" as setting the stage for why.  It could be a short enroll/engage/explore/inquiry.  All of the Hunter parts are included in the previous descriptions of lesson planning.  It's just where the emphasis is placed that makes the difference!

How do you build lesson plans?  What organizational structure do you use?

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