Lesson planning is a process and I would argue to say that a lesson plan is always a “work in progress”. As teachers, we are constantly teaching, reflecting, and revising to create lessons that best meet our students’ needs. Over the past two weeks in the MAET program, I have been revising a sixth grade math lesson focused on the concept of parallel lines cut by a transversal.
My hope is that my final revision meets the diverse needs of my students. My revisions stem from my newly acquired knowledge of several educational frameworks. The lenses I have been looking through to revise this lesson are TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge), UDL (Universal Design for Learning), and Networked Learning. My final revisions based on these frameworks are shown in my updated lesson plan. In this document you will find the original lesson plan first, and the revised lesson directly underneath.
The foundation of TPACK revolves around the importance of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge with special emphasis placed on where these three ideas overlap. It is at this “sweet spot” that learning is meaningful. My math lesson plan features direct instruction delivered through a screencast, that the students will view on an iPad. Originally, I did not have the screencast as part of my lesson. Rather, I used a lecture as my mode of direct instruction. For my first draft, this was okay because the content was sound. However, after learning about TPACK, I quickly realized the technology was lacking.
While discussing TPACK in class, one important idea that we learned was that we need to make sure that the focus of the lesson is the content, not the technology. It is important not to choose the technology before knowing the subject. In my original draft of this lesson, I had the content clearly outlined. After evaluating my lesson plan with TPACK in mind, I chose to integrate the screencast. Direct instruction is a clear pedagogical choice and the use of the iPad incorporates technology meaningfully. The content is clearly explained via the screencast. This brings the three foundations of TPACK together to hit that “sweet spot”.
Once my lesson was revised using TPACK, I began looking at it from a UDL perspective. The three guiding principles of UDL are: provide multiple means of representation, action & expression, and engagement (CAST, 2011). In my lesson, I had already incorporated some of these concepts. However, I did make one big revision after analyzing the UDL framework as well as researching a math learning disability called dyscalculia. After students view the screencast, they are going to be working with manipulatives to construct parallel lines and show angle relationships. The use of manipulatives will help all of my students because it will provide options for physical action and allow students to participate in a hands-on activity. This type of learning is imperative because many students, including those with dyscalculia, learn best through concrete learning.
Networked Learning Framework
After revising my lesson through both the TPACK and UDL lenses, I turned to evaluating it through a Networked Learning perspective. Networked Learning involves using both my own Personal Learning Network (PLN), as well as exposing students to building and using their own PLN in the lesson.
My big revision after learning about UDL was adding in the activity with manipulatives. This activity is done in groups of three. This type of collaborative work is an example of networked learning. They are reaching out to their peers and assisting each other in learning the concepts of parallel lines and angle relationships. They may even end up helping to teach one of their classmates. We know that if they can do this, they have developed a deep understanding of the content.
If students are still struggling with the concept, I have provided them with extra YouTube videos. These resources connect them to others around the globe and show the importance of expanding their PLN and the value of learning from others.
As a professional educator, I have definitely grown through this revision process. It has caused me to take a much closer look at the way I think about assessment and evaluation. It helped me to understand the power of the process and doing things in chunks. I did not take an initial draft and magically turn it into a final draft. It took careful consideration of each framework along the way, constantly re-evaluating my document. If I had been assessed on my first draft, I do not think my grade would have been what I hoped. Instead, it is essential to assess one’s progress. We can’t expect students to go from learning to mastery immediately, nor can we assume that one style of instruction or assessment is appropriate for all. Learning is a process and we need to allow students to fully engage in it.
Above all, I have learned that lesson planning is a continual cycle. There is always room for revision after careful reflection. It is imperative to look at lessons through various lenses. It is only then, that we can begin to provide for student differences. By working through the process and doing several revisions, I was able to receive feed back, both positive comments and constructive suggestions. This is the culture I need to create in my own classroom. In the end, our goal is to have students not only learn material, but be problem solvers and critical thinkers. We can only develop this through careful lessons that allow them to explore, attempt, fail, receive feedback, and revise. This is something I have experienced first hand through my own journey to produce this final (for now) lesson plan.
CAST (2011). Universal design for learning guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.
McPhee, N. (2013). Fluorescent Ort Loom [Online Image]. Retrieved July 21, 2015 from https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/8743140222/in/photolist-ejASYW-a23Tn-4EQEUd-48dAJa-9zvm3-7ywGeL-jRWbkr-kZx8N-aDvJ3N-9npHXt-cciNtj-c3boFE-ejveZH-dQo6G8-iasvPx-fQhQib-iasvSN-j1X1Bd-8vHnig-nBgd5y-ceRnY-5CNoRE-5PoRJX-65FSTj-dYqNgs-dWyLNe-8FDqka-j1T1Eg-5PoRf5-6UJdC8-2Nqecs-8uLEUd-dAenwi-4VijP5-e32eiL-a36dRZ-jLUVRj-6DsW8z-7yx6F9-5xNoaX-dYqQyL-cepf6d-9MzPwF-fQhQ2J-aaeb4F-GDtKZ-aDvJ6f-aDrSmg-a23To-coDKf9