Lesson planning

As part of my methods class requirements for this quarter, I need to plan and write a lesson plan.  Although our professor suggested we pick a unit that we can use to teach spring quarter, we also have a teaching requirement in the fall.  I decided to pick a unit this quarter, instead, so that when I am teaching I can use material I developed myself.

The unit I’m working on covers the second half of a the chapter that introduces algebra students to solving equations.  I have only begun to work, but I’m already learning a lot.

1. Lesson planning takes a lot of time when you don’t know what you’re doing.  After at least ten hours of work, I have managed to develop a rough unit outline and very rough drafts of three lessons, with accompanying homework.  I have three more lessons, a review and chapter test to plan.

2. Collaborative planning has positive and negative sides.  On the plus side, it’s easy to get lots of ideas and feedback.  On the minus side, it’s easy to get lots of ideas and feedback.  Sometimes I get great ideas for a group task students can engage in.  Other times I am saddled with constraints required to meet the particular desires of other teachers in the Professional Learning Community (PLC – our planning group).  These constraints can sometimes conflict, making an already difficult task that much more work intensive.

3. Lesson planning requires a level of organization much greater than I initially assumed.  I find that I have to keep in mind what material the students are likely to know from recent sections, what they might recall from previous years’ learning, where we’re going with the material, what sorts of contexts my students might resonate with, what the standards are, what might be tested, but on the chapter test and the End of Course state exam required for graduation.  If I were disorganized and did not have all this information readily at hand, planning well would be impossible.

I am very glad now that I decided to work on a unit plan for this quarter.  Next quarter I am required to take the lead in four of my classes for six weeks.  I hope to begin unit planning right away and continue it through the whole quarter, so that I have plenty of prepared material for that time.

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