Lesson and Unit Planning

All new teachers must find a way which helps them to make sense of the day-to-day activities of teaching. Because I’ve been doing this for 10 years, I am much more comfortable giving myself a theme/concept/stimulus cue and then I can run with the lesson. Here’s what my ‘lesson/unit plans’ might look like. This is a grade 12 university-college level social science course. I like the weekends – they are places for me to write ideas or additions to the lessons.

"What day is it?"

New teachers may needmore direction. Lesson plans are a great way to keep you focused on the goal rather than the nitty-gritty of insignificant details or an over-abundance of information overload.

Lesson plans should have SKILL as well as CONTENT. You need to be aware of what previous knowledge your students have about the subject. We we pitch the lesson far above their ability, the work is useless, if it’s below their skills, boredom sets in. Sometimes one only needs to verbally ‘check in’ to gage students’ abilities.

Good lessons are not teacher-focused. Students should be given activities which guide them between relevant pieces of information and skills. Skills may include theme appropriate literacy activities, numeracy, evaluation of historical significance, map reading, ranking evidence etc.

Here is  link to a google doc for a template for individual class lesson plans. Select ‘make a copy” under the file menu and you can use & manipulate it to your heart’s content.

Think of a unit plan like a large-scale lesson plan. You have similar goals, you must pick out your curricular expectations and you give yourself an overview of all you want to accomplish over the period time allotted. You can use the same curricular expectations for several lessons — this will ensure your students have a mastery of the subject.

Here is an example of Top down Lesson Planning – Planning for Learning template and directions

Remember: in both your lesson plans and your unit plans, focus on the BIG PICTURE. If students can back their arguments and ideas with relevant information that is important to them(and to the course), they are successful. Everything else is just window dressing.

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