Lesson Planning Questions

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

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  1. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 25, 2018

    They are "thin," because I just do not know what I'm doing, and I'm trying to keep the kids busy, to be honest.
     
  2. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Feb 25, 2018

    I have to ask this question because I am having trouble understanding OP's difficulty. In my state, we have district curriculum guides and maps that are in compliance with state standards and guidelines. Having just worked on some of these for revision and updating, there are fairly well defined time periods stated to cover the material. The maps also align with state standards. I know that Texas isn't NJ, but I would be willing to bet that the school she teaches at has something like this available - the state monitors schools, and this is one of the things they would expect to see. If OP has never asked for a curriculum guide/map that has been approved by the district, there is no time like the present, even if it is overdue.

    An example on the curriculum guide, for instance, may be for students to master MLA formatting. You may not find any suggestion or need to muddy the water with alternate formats at this grade level. If you haven't looked at the curriculum guide/maps, you wouldn't know that. Trust me when I say that people have invested a lot of time and energy creating those guides and maps, and that they are there for the benefit of everyone involved, so that student learning proceeds without glaring gaps.

    The pacing guide tells you how much work you need to master in a set time frame. With that information, as the teacher, you are tasked with creating lessons within that education arc that create learning sequences which will allow your students to master the goals. If you just wander through material without a map or plan, your students will suffer because most can't be counted on to teach themselves. It is bad enough if OP is wandering in circles, lost, but even worse if OP's students are wandering in circles, lost, because of inadequate planning and understanding by their teacher. If this is you, OP, you need to be the grownup and figure out how to divide the number of days by the lessons that need to be taught, teach them in sequence, and then make sure that your students can demonstrate mastery of the skills you are tasked with teaching them. To do less is failing your students.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  3. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    I don't know how to do that, and no one will show me how. Sorry, but I'm used to structure. In the state where I received my teaching license, the schools had pacing guides for teachers to follow, and they showed us what we needed to cover each week. It wasn't perfect, and it still left a little guess work for me, but that pacing guide was like a bicycle with training wheels compared to this. I can't make sense out of it!
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Feb 25, 2018

    You don't have a pacing guide?
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    You are the adult in the room - do the math, spend the time with the guides and maps, and figure it out. Please - don't let your next words be "train me." You have, according to your post, been exposed to pacing guides. You will need to invest more time and effort to do the same task in your current job, but you can't say you aren't familiar with the concept.

    I find it incomprehensible that you have NO pacing guide of any kind in the teacher's edition of your texts or that you would be so clueless that you wouldn't ask admin where to find such a thing.. If you need structure, create it. If you can't create it, you may quite possibly be incapable of doing the job for which you were hired. Sorry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
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  6. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Feb 25, 2018

    "WHAT ARE WE PAYING YOU FOR??????????????????????????????????????????????????"

    Love,
    The Texas Taxpayers
     
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  7. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 26, 2018

    Like I said earlier, if I knew the teaching profession was going to be like this, I don't think I would have signed up for it. In your own education and in college, you have people to help and guide you; they would never allow you to go in not understanding what you're supposed to be doing, but when they actually hire you? If you fail, that's on you. I've asked for training, and I've been pretty upfront with my principal and one other teacher about the issues I'm having. I still feel like I'm expected to know what I don't know, so I've mainly just been "surviving" and hoping things somehow turn out well.

    I hate my lessons, though. They come out of the textbook, and they are usually dry and boring. When the kids talk, I get really upset, because I'm actually trying here, even though my progress has been terrible because I'm pretty sure I don't have the right to ask a more experienced coworker to share a lesson plan. I'm just learning as I go and doing the best I can, but it's so frustrating to spend hours staring at a textbook, flipping through a website, and then finally just resorting to Googling a standard and picking a pre-made lesson plan.
     
  8. Kenz501

    Kenz501 Cohort

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    Feb 26, 2018

    If all I need to do is put in a few more hours of additional work to be successful, I'm certainly willing to do so, but I think I'm missing some fundamental skills. Truth be told, I had trouble coming up with lessons during student teaching. Is it supposed to be like this?

    Short of asking someone to sit down with me and help me plan out the rest of my year, I don't think I could do any better than I've been doing, but I realize I can't do that, because that would be asking someone to do my work for me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Honestly, no. I am student teaching now and I am planning all of my lessons from scratch. We have a curriculum but my mentor doesn't like it and we do not use it very much at all. We do not have a textbook. Lesson planning is time consuming but I do not have trouble coming up with lessons. My friends feel the same way. I am not doing any long-term planning now but I would be comfortable doing it at anytime. If you want to stay in teaching, I would highly recommend taking more education courses. I really don't mean to be rude, but I'm not sure how you graduated from a teacher prep program or student teaching without knowing how to lesson plan.
     
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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 26, 2018

    I'm in NJ. I have no pacing guide. Never have had one. Don't have teacher's edition except for in math and even with that we have some freedom.
    "If you need structure, create it. If you can't create it, you may quite possibly be incapable of doing the job for which you were hired." Truthfully, as asked above, one wonders how the OP was hired.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    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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  12. 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.
     
  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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
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