What should Ms. Begay know about creating effective lesson plans?
Page 15: Unit Plan Design
As they develop effective lesson plans, teachers will want to utilize unit plan designs. These designs are geared toward helping teachers to organize and plan what will be done in the classroom in order to help students achieve long-term goals that have been set for the class. Think of them as the in-between step in breaking established year-long plans into the lesson plans teachers use to plan daily classroom experiences. As teachers complete their year-long planning, specific themes will emerge which will in turn become individual units. For example, a year-long math plan might include decimal operations, and a theme unit of place value, money, and measurement might develop. The focus of the planning continues to narrow, from year-long plans to unit plans. Myers and Myers (1995, p. 462) list six components that each unit plan should contain.
- Set Goals and Objectives for Students
Using content standards, teachers can begin to create a unit plan by identifying what they want students to accomplish. This plan should include identifying goals in the form of what students should know or be able to accomplish upon completion of the unit. An example of a science goal might be that students will be able to identify and state the purpose of all the major organelles of a cell.
- Choose Content
Working within a unit, teachers must identify all of the content that needs to be taught. For example, a unit on decimals might include adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers that contain decimals.
- Choose Instruction Methods
Here the teacher will address the teaching methods that he or she will be use. This is an opportune moment to consider the special needs of students in the classroom. Will instruction include direct instruction, cooperative learning experiences, or the re-teaching of content to a peer? Some students with writing difficulties might require the additional assistance of peer help or partially completed notes. By planning ahead, teachers can include strategies to help ensure the success of all students.
- Connect Learning Activities to Experiences
Students need to learn the required content by the end of the unit. Learning activities should be designed to utilize the strengths of the students. Determine in what circumstances concrete models and examples could be included to help facilitate understanding.
- Choose and List Resources
Be sure to list all of the materials necessary to complete the unit. By planning ahead, teachers will help themselves avoid a last-minute rush to find the materials they’ll need to complete specific activities.
- Choose Assessment Methods
Use assessments that determine whether students have met unit objectives. Select a variety of assessments, such as multiple-choice tests, individual or group projects, or research papers. Questions that should be considered when deciding how students will be evaluated include:
- Do the assessments measure memorization of content or do they require students to apply what has been learned?
- Does the evaluation device actually measure what has been taught?
- What levels of learning are addressed?