Lesson Planning Questions

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Kenz501, Feb 24, 2018.

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  1. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 26, 2018

    My son majored in accounting. No one had to show him how to do accounting when he was hired for his job.
    My DIL is a pastry chef. Ditto.
    Other son is in sales. Ditto.
    Other DIL is a paralegal. Ditto.
    Sure, there are new technologies to learn, professional development to stay current in ANY job. It takes some personal responsibility to seek out these opportunities and continue learning so that one continues to grow in tgeir profession.
     
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  2. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 26, 2018

    It's just the way I'm thinking. When I look over a reading passage or a textbook lesson, nothing jumps out at me and says "we're covering X and Y standard right there by doing this activity," unless it's already explicitly spelled out for me. For a while, I was just zoning out and telling myself, "this is too complicated!" I think I'm beginning to understand, though, but I still can't create my own activities to make something meet a standard, and I'm still not that familiar with the standards in general.

    Sure, I have a general idea of what "the students will use Latin and Greek roots to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words" means, but I don't always know where to find the list of Latin and Greek roots I'm supposed to teach. It's little things like that that get in the way. Like I said before, it's probably something obvious that I'm overlooking. I'm good at overlooking the obvious and inventing my own solutions, even when I don't have to.
     
  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Feb 26, 2018

    I am having a huge disconnect here because we have the recommended pacing guide from the state (generic, doesn't follow any particular textbook adoption), and the recommended pacing guide by the district (more specific to our textbook adoption), and the syllabus created by teachers at our school (which more closely reflects the supplementary materials at our school and emphases of our English department.) In addition, I meet regularly with the other people who teach the same course that I do, and we share resources and plan together. I have never felt like I was in this by myself with no guidance. I never had to ask for any of these things, they were handed to me the first day of my job.

    That said, my second year teaching I wrote new syllabi for brand new courses, and rewrote the syllabi for the other two courses I teach. But even so, I bounced ideas off my department head.
     
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  4. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Google "Latin and Greek roots lesson" or "Latin and Greek roots unit" and find one that seems appropriate for your kids! A quick search of Teachers Pay Teachers for "Latin and Greek roots" and sorting by "7th grade" turned up dozens of activities. Looking at them, one of them could easily be reproduced without purchasing it, using a list of root words and index cards. You don't have to invent anything. Literally everything has been done before, just use it. That's what I meant earlier by adaptive and creative thinking.
     
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  5. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 26, 2018

    I won't keep making excuses, so I guess I'll try again. There's a difference, though, between what good experienced English teachers do and what I end up doing. I may feel a bit like a mere cook pretending to be a master chef. My customers, the students, can taste the work of a "phony." When I try to make a "fruit salad" and it contains lettuce, something is off, and that's the way most of my lessons are; something is "off." I somehow didn't follow the recipe, because I don't know the recipe! I think I included the required ingredients, but I didn't blend them the right way.

    I might have attempted to sample the course material, but I didn't differentiate instruction for my slower learners and ELL kids. Vital steps to help the students understand the material were probably overlooked.

    Plus, I'm also having trouble with classroom management in general, and apparently this is my fault, because I've been informed that I'm having trouble with kids who don't usually cause trouble.

    To put it a different way:

    I can make a lesson that looks good on paper, but when I try to teach it it makes absolutely no sense. I have a lot of trouble anticipating the problems the students might have, and activities that are intended to lead the students to one conclusion usually don't accomplish what I want them to do. Plus, I just don't know how much time to spend on one concept.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 26, 2018

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Greek+and+latin+roots+word+list
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Feb 26, 2018

  8. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 27, 2018

  9. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I most likely have ASD, sorry to keep bringing that up, but I think it just MIGHT be a factor. I don't transfer skills well. I was taught how to plan lessons from objectives and not use the textbook as well, but here they want me to use the textbook and the curriculum guide that they say has already been provided by the state. What curriculum guide? That's my question.

    Sure, if I were a little more savvy, I could have created my own structure by searching for pacing guides which were currently in use. I'm a very slow problem solver, though, and I've been accused of "not using common sense," especially when I'm stressed; it's like I just shut off to everything and everyone around me and go into "panic mode." I don't tend to think of obvious solutions to simple problems and instead do everything the really hard way, like, instead of using common sense, spend five hours planning the next day's lesson, only for it to flop because it isn't grade-level appropriate or something silly like that. In my mind that's "easier" than modifying resources that already exist. If I could get out of "panic mode," though, maybe I could get something accomplished.

    Like, I again tried to search for resources online, but this time I Googled the unit, not the individual standard, and I actually found something I could probably follow. Anyone else probably would have done that right away instead of just panicking, and I really can't explain why it took me so long. I'm thinking it's just the way I process information. If it's familiar, even if it's wrong, it's "easier" than something unfamiliar, which is automatically "more difficult," or something like that.

    I know I'm constantly being told, mostly by people on here because I've only recently brought this nasty concern to the attention of my boss and coworkers, that training me isn't my employer's problem, but I still think that showing me how to use these tools for effective lesson planning would have saved me a lot of headaches.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  10. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Feb 27, 2018

    Sounds like you need a mentor or co-teacher with whom you can throw around ideas.
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Feb 27, 2018

    You're not going to have something jump out at you when you read a story and make it obvious. You look at the standard and see what you want to use to teach it. For example a story can be used to teach characterization, direct and indirect conflict, conflict and resolution, the plot line, point of view, or several of these at once.
     
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Feb 27, 2018

    Lesson planning takes considerable time to perfect. It will not always be perfect the first time and that’s okay. What is important, though, is not having a defeatist attitude and saying “I can’t do it.” You need to avoid emulating your students when they flounder because you are one of their role models and it doesn’t not reflect well on you.

    Just look at the state standards from the pacing guides and adapt your lessons to accommodate those. You can cover multiple standards or just a single standard in any one lesson. It’s up to you to get a feel for what works and what does not work. For each lesson, you want to make sure that you are actively encouraging the use of academic language and learn when to expect where students struggle because certain concepts are more difficult than others. To demonstrate, if you were to compare and contrast two things from a book they’re reading you could have the students do a Venn diagram of the literary concepts and the elements/characters of the story. Then, you could have a whole class discussion or small-group discussion about the similarities and differences and prompt students to contribute something new to the Venn diagram. You could further encourage class discussion by asking a mixture of open-ended and close-ended questions. (Just make sure that there is a central theme to your lesson because students need cohesiveness to make associations between concepts that are interrelated.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  13. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Feb 27, 2018

    If you would like a good source for creating a citation in MLA Format, maybe you could look into noodletools.
     
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  14. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 27, 2018

    Really, I should just stop whining and start working. I feel like I've gotten more accomplished today than I have in a while.

    I guess maybe I should get a lot more specific. I have trouble with the "teaching" aspect of it, as in lecturing with appropriate modeling. I would chock it up to lack of preparation, but if I've spent five hours planning is that really the case?
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    That’s the spirit. Chin up, buddy! :)
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Feb 27, 2018

    Do you want to share your lesson plan for tomorrow?
     
  17. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 28, 2018

    Objective:
    Use Greek and Latin roots to identify unfamiliar words
    Understand how some words originate from Latin or Greek
    Distinguish between myths, fairy tales, legends, tall tales, etc.

    Materials:
    Anticipation guide
    Copies of a popular Greek myth
    Guide questions
    Word study questions

    Method:

    Introduce Greek myth with an anticipation guide or journal writing activity (10 minutes)
    Allow students to read the Greek myth or read aloud to them (10 minutes)
    Have students answer guide questions--how does this tale fit the description of "myth" that we learned earlier? (10-15 minutes)
    Have students complete a simple word study activity based on the myth. (10 minutes)
    Grammar review (5-10 minutes)
    Reading comprehension quiz (10 minutes)

    Some possible myth choices:

    Echo and Narcissus
    Athena and Arachne
    Pandora's "Box"

    Concerns about this lesson:
    My students are advanced, so I wonder if some of them have already read these myths.
    The stories I'm planning to pick are not from the textbook. Perhaps I should just look for something in the textbook and adapt it to my needs?
     
  18. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Feb 28, 2018

    I've read through this entire thread and have reached a conclusion based on what Kenz501 has stated. Cited comments are paraphrased and loosely cut and pasted here:
    • I do not know how to teach writing. I don't know how to translate teaching strategies learned to fit the ELA classroom.
    • I'm unable to remain focused and usually end up not teaching the state objectives required.
    • I don't tend to think of obvious solutions to simple problems and instead do everything the really hard way.
    • I tend to pick stuff that seems easy to me, but is very above their heads.
    • I draw a blank when I sit down with a list of standards and textbook.
    • I have a pacing guide, but it's not very clear to me
    • Lessons lack substance because I just do not know what I'm doing.
    • I'm doing the best I can, but it's frustrating to spend hours staring at a textbook.
    What this means to me:
    1. You clearly lack adequate training and preparation to be a teacher.
    2. You have significant difficulty staying focused long enough to plan a coherent lesson within a reasonable amount of time.
    3. You are unable to see the connection between an organizational scheme (i.e. pacing guide) and the associated lessons that need to be developed.
    4. You lack the organizational skills and knowledge needed to plan meaningful lessons that are aligned with a pacing guide.
    5. You lack appropriate judgement to develop lessons that students can comprehend.
    6. You are easily stymied by simple obstacles, due to poor problem-solving skills.
    Conclusion: Despite your receiving many suggestions from this forum, the monumental problems you face in your current position persist - this may be due to several personal traits that are preventing you from becoming an effective teacher. IMHO, teaching may not be an appropriate career choice for you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
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  19. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I do a pretty decent job as a tutor, though, and I know my material pretty well. Where's the disconnect? If I wasn't trained properly, can't I just train myself?

    I don't really understand why other people don't get confused. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? The list of objectives is vague.

    The exact standard is worded, "determine the meaning of grade level academic English words derived from Latin and Greek." Which words are appropriate for this grade level? See, to my knowledge, no one has given me a list. They just gave me two textbooks with the instructions to "follow the textbook," but which textbook? One is grammar and writing and the other is literature. I've been giving the students assignments out of the grammar and writing textbook, but I can't really call any of it teaching. I don't know how to teach writing, really. It's not math or science or even history, and I don't know how to break it down into digestible steps! The reason I think I'm having so much trouble here is no one has given a satisfactory answer to the simplest questions I've had. This is too open-ended, and it's really confusing me.

    I had to find my own example pacing guide / sample lesson plans--which are still pretty non-specific.

    If I have trouble planning a lesson, I don't really have anyone to go to for help. It's not my coworkers' job to train me, after all.

    I'm still under pressure to perform, even though I don't have the tools I need to do a proper job, and I really think anyone would fail under the right conditions.

    Sure, I'm probably doing it all wrong, but if I can't get anyone to tell / explain / demonstrate what exactly to do what more can I expect of myself? Should I really know exactly what to do just from student teaching even if I've never worked as a public school teacher before?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  20. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I feel really bad and even offered to resign. My boss has been exceptionally helpful and so have my coworkers. They just don't seem to have anything reliable in place to train me.

    Here are the things they've tried:

    They put a retired elementary school teacher in my classroom for a week to "show me the ropes."
    She didn't know the curriculum or how to navigate my textbook, either, but she did do a better job managing the classroom than I did. I was trying to absorb so many things, and I was mainly focused on good lesson planning. She might have given me some good tips on classroom management and organization, but the only thing I really remember is that she wasn't sure how to teach my subject, either!

    Two of my coworkers helped out when I first arrived, but the tips they suggested were far less than the structured training I required. I thought it was normal to be confused about some things my first week, so I thanked them for their help and went into "survival mode" after I realized they didn't know what I was having trouble with and probably couldn't or weren't willing to help me, either.

    A whole lot of my problems would have been easily solved if this middle school had a lesson planning committee in each department, or even a required weekly meeting where teachers compare notes and swap ideas, but no, we're all very departmentalized, and so if a teacher is struggling, they don't get to find out, and I don't feel comfortable asking questions about anything because it's just not structured that way; it's not a requirement, and I'm not really bringing anything to the table; they aren't obligated to help me.
     
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