Planning for Teaching

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The individual lesson plans and unit plan that I designed during my graduate practicum involved extensive research, consultation, and collaboration with fellow teachers. This process provided insight into daily lesson and long-range instructional unit planning. When designing my lesson plans, I think first and foremost of my students. Every step of every lesson revolves around my students needs. As I devise my lesson plans, I reflect on the logistics and relevance of each step. I could devise a perfect lesson plan on paper, but if it does not fit the needs and learning styles of my students, it will be far from perfect in execution. Therefore, in addition to creating a straightforward, step-by-step lesson plan, I devise alternative methods for each lesson in order to allow for adaptation and accommodation in its application. For example, if a lesson plan revolves around a student-led discussion, I will prepare guiding questions in advance to spur student responses and lead students toward curriculum objectives. Likewise, when creating lesson plans, I think of ways to include multiple forums for learning - such as lecture, discussion, or reading from a text - that appeal to the many different learners in my classroom.

When planning for lessons, I ensure my plans align with the standards of both the state of Virginia and the National Council of Social Studies. However, I also want my lessons to challenge my students, and lead toward their development of academic skills and knowledge that extend beyond written standards. My lesson plans require students to think both critically and creatively about an historical concept, event, or time period. My goal is for students to master the academic content of my social studies courses and develop analytical reading and writing skills.

In order to successfully plan a comprehensive unit, I begin by creating an outline of all content material for the unit. This outline is based on school and state curriculum, state content framework for the Standards of Learning, and national standards for the specific unit. From this outline, I then create a unit calendar, where I create a blueprint for the individual lesson plans that make up the unit. On this calendar, I designate what content material and teaching activities will be covered during each lesson. This process can also be viewed on my Unit Plan page in this efolio.

Finally, I create unit packet that aligns with the content outline and unit calendar. In this packet, I include any materials needed for during instruction, inlcuding Cloze notes, vocabulary, activity worksheets, or primary source documents. Students are given this packet at the beginning of the unit, and will use its included materials in each lesson. These packets are designed to enhance student learning, and engage students with different activities, photographs, and primary sources relevant to the specific unit material.

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Examples of student work in the WWII: Pacific Packet.