Sometimes you have to pick and choose what your students will learn. We don’t have time to do everything. As History teachers, we have a little lee way in what we can focus on as the skill sets are not as prescribed as they would be in English or Math. Historical Inquiry can be built into any lesson on any topic.
My school board recently switched to a focus on “assessing by expectation” rather than by Achievement Chart categories. This change means it becomes a lot less complicated to plan and create tasks and tools which allow the student to show their mastery of the expectation.
The “Planning sheets” below allow teachers to list their tasks, the direct curricular links and then (for their own professional information) the achievement category. This can then provide a framework in which to develop lessons to fit the tasks and assessments. Piece of cake!
Once I have the framework for my assessments, I plan the themes of my lessons. This is a typical month for my Canadian History (applied) course. You can see I am constantly making revisions (pencil, people) and the theme is enough for me to remember what we did when a student asks.
There isn’t much in the boxes as I have a pretty clear idea of what activities will go with which themes. I’ve also been at this game long enough that sometimes I just go in and “wing it [not recommended for new teachers].”
You can also see evidence of the problem I face every year: getting to Strand E before the final culminating tasks and the exam. This year I think I’m on the track to teach about 1982-present. Maybe.
This assignment allows you to create an integrated unit of study (a series of at least four successive lessons – approximately 4 hours of instruction) based on the differentiated instruction approach to History. This will also include some activities using literacy and/or numeracy strategies.
This will demonstrate your understanding of BEST PRACTICES, not “this work well with one group of students.”
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.
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.
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.