We have completed three assignments for this module on lesson planning. We effectively learned how to do backwards mapping, unpack a standard, and create SMART objectives. These three assignments have been helpful as to having a deeper understanding of how I can implement these during planning sessions and successfully in the classroom.
The first assignment was unpacking a standard. I went through the standards in the IB Programme Standards and Practices document to find standards that correlated well with my current unit and my personal aims. However, I will admit, I think using IB standards for this assignment was much less specific than it would have been if I was using state standards, such as Common Core. IB writes standards for schools all over the world, and they are for general age groups (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme) instead of specific grades. However, despite the non-specific points of the standards I chose, I found this exercise to be helpful in breaking down the big ideas of the standard. Instead of just reading the standard and taking away the general idea, it helps to pin-point the specifics.
The second assignment of this week was backwards mapping where you write the areas you want the students to be proficient in, the assessments, and planned activities before you start the unit. At my school, we do something very similar as backwards mapping, where a small group writes a unit planner in the weeks before a new unit begins. If we know the objectives of our unit, the specific activities, and the way we plan to assess the students throughout the unit before we begin, it keeps our lessons focused. However, IB encourages teachers to keep the possibility of flexibility in the event that students want to further pursue an interest instead of going on to a different topic. I do believe if you write the objectives prior to beginning a unit it helps to keep you incredibly focused on the goals, but you should maintain a bit of flexibility.
The last assignment of the week was writing 5 SMART objectives. Writing these objectives were very beneficial to me because, while I have already been writing objectives in my lesson plans, I used very similar action words every week in my plans. Using the ‘EFFECTIVE USE OF PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT’ paper, I was able to get great ideas for writing better objectives.
I found all of these exercises to be helpful in guiding me to write better and stronger lesson plans in the future and making sure I have structure in the classroom. More importantly, it is a good reminder that my lessons should not just be fun and engaging lessons, but also have meaningful ways of assessing their knowledge.
University of New Mexico School of Medicine. EFFECTIVE USE OF PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT. Teacher & Educational Development; 2005. PDF. Retrieved Aug, 2016 .<http://ccoe.rbhs.rutgers.edu/forms/EffectiveUseofLearningObjectives.pdf>