Today during the second half of the day I got to meet the school’s Literacy Coach. The kindergarten teachers had a meeting which I also attend where they discussed their upcoming Literacy Night and Unit Planning. They talked about how they can best convey the “big idea” to the parents and how they can get them to see their child’s growth in reading and writing on their own as opposed to just asking the teacher if their is improvement. While discussing unit planning the Literacy Coach talked to us a little bit about backward design. I thought this was a very interesting approach, it takes place in 3 stages:
- Stage 1 - Desired Results (What should students walk out the door able to understand?)
- Stage 2 - Assessment Evidence (What is evidence of such ability?)
- Stage 3 - Learning Plan (What texts, activities, and methods will best enable such a result?)
With the exception of my literacy and socail studies method class that I took last semester this approach was contrary to what we have been told as students. I think many of my professors have told us to start with an activity and then design the whole lesson around it. But this approach actually starts from the bottom and works it’s way up, which is why it’s called “backward design”. I think this will actually help me in writing my lesson plans this semester, I’m excited to use this approach.
Another things that was mentioned that I also heard many times last semester was the importance of assessments. When writing a lesson, we always need to consider how can we prove that learning actually took place. One of the teachers brought up the point that just because we say something doesn’t mean that it was heard or understood, and the same can be applied here just because we taught a lesson we can’t assume that the students understood all the material and learned something. So I think that will be a challenge for me this semester, creating assessment that prove learning took place while at the same time making sure they aren’t your typical tests, quizzes, or written responses but something creative and quick.
So I’ll write more about Backward Design on Friday, the students have no school but we have an in-service day where the Literacy Coach will be speaking to us more about this approach.
January 16, 2013
Below is something a student made at home for me. :)