9/9/13: Reflecting on Reflecting

During the early stages of learning a new skill or piece of information, I always like to take in as many views as possible. I recognize my mind has certain tendencies and limitations that might prevent me from understanding something fully, and what might be obvious for one person might never cross my mind. That’s why the lesson plan study we took part in was so beneficial. Listening to how others approached lesson planning helped to fill in some of the gaps I had. By reconciling my approach with those of my class mates, I gained a more holistic perspective.

 

 

Lesson Study Reflection: Share Out of Ideas!

keep-calm-and-write-a-lesson-plan

Today in Ed Methods, we went over our Lesson Study assignment. Each person wrote their own plan on a topic they hope to teach in the future. We paired up based on similar topics, which was nice because we could see similarities and differences in our plans right away. Then we did a share out to the class so everyone could hear everyone’s ideas. It was a discussion-filled class for sure that did not need much prompting from the professor, which to me is a good sign (it means we are thinking!).

I really enjoyed that the lesson plans were all varied, ranging from world history to specific congressional roles in the U.S. It was interesting to see how much people varied their writing style. Some were super detailed on a specific lesson for one day, while others did a broad scope on a unit. What I did notice that almost everyone’s lesson dealt with the (sometimes-daunting) Work Sample. I think it is okay that everyone zoned in on that, it shows that we are excited and wanting to prepare for it.

The discussion of the lesson plans was almost more beneficial than the writing of the plans actually. It was quite funny because while I was writing my plan, I kept thinking how I wished someone was near me so I could bounce ideas off of them. Then I get to class and I have eleven colleagues throwing ideas and suggestions at me! It was great!

At times, the sharing felt like a long process though. It was hard at certain times to see how someone else’s lesson related to mine. I also noticed that people struggled to give concise summaries of their plans (I included!). I think it is because we are all educators at heart and educators just seem to be a bit more longwinded. We want to make sure everyone is clear on what we are saying which means a detailed explanation, of course. Other than the summaries though, I think we had a great higher-level discussion. It is so beneficial to talk with our peers because we understand both theory and classroom reality, and can therefore give more detailed feedback. The feedback was not simply “that sounds like a fun activity.” Instead, the feedback went deeper by discussing how students will probably respond and potential speed bumps that could occur.

This assignment allowed me to gain some good ideas from my peers on activities to try in my future career. I especially like it when people share their simulation ideas because I am big on simulations in classrooms. To me, lectures and simulations are a great way to solidify knowledge.

Before class was even out, I found myself contemplating how I could do the assignment differently next time. I know I want to be more specific next time, picking a specific lesson instead of an overarching unit. Discussing the unit was helpful because it gave me a direction to head in, but now I am ready to figure out the specifics and start to lay down actual plans to carry out. I also want to be more mindful of including formative assessments because I noticed many of our lessons did not include much of either kind of assessments (formative & summative). Sometimes assessments (especially formative) are the hardest to create because it is difficult to boil down a whole lesson into a specific (and usually brief) summation/quiz. I know they are just check-ups on student learning but I still struggle to find specific things to gauge their processing of the new information.

Overall, I am feeling more ready for lesson planning in the future!

Photo cred: StefCooke on http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-write-a-lesson-plan/