Friday, February 14, 2014

UClass: Lesson Focus

I'll spend the weekend with UClass folks digging deep to think about lessons that matter.

I'm excited about this event as I've seen how greater attention and care to learning experiences has resulted in increased depth and breadth with regard to student learning.

The challenge for educators in this regard is time--if we truly want to personalize learning experiences for each child, we need the time to do it well.  The other challenge is numbers, as I'm reading and thinking about multiple articles, I recognize that we have to rethink the way we deploy staff and time in order to meet students' most essential needs with just right design including just right staffing and ratios.  For some broad learning team times, larger numbers will work, but for specific, targeted learning needs one-to-one or small group is better.

With lesson design in mind, what will I be thinking of this weekend?

Learning Experience Frameworks
First, I'll be thinking about "umbrella plans" or "framework experiences"--the kinds of lessons that can be applied to relevant content and experiences.  For example, when we study character, what kind of motivating fourth grade frameworks can be applied to this study.

Next, I will be thinking about precision--that's been a challenge for me as I'm creating many learning experiences a day.  The big ideas are there with strength, but sometimes there's a typo here and there.  Luckily I have my 4th grade "beta testers" who find those small punctuation or typos efficiently.  Hence the creation process might include beta testing to see where the minor changes occur prior to publishing.

Lesson Sets and Series
After that, I'll think about lesson sets--the lessons that go together as one series such as the recent lessons I crafted and implemented related to Razia's Ray of Hope.

Integration and Interdisciplinary
I'll also think about integration and interdisciplinary efforts.  For example, as students wrote math dialogues the other day, I was struck by the power of matching math thought with writing skill--students had to think carefully about the math words as they crafted dialogue, and the dialogue brought to life the meaning of the math vocabulary.

Online/Offline Materials
Materials will be another consideration--what is the best blend of online and offline tools.

Differentiation and Personalization
Differentiation and personalization will be important too as I like to have every lesson range from 1-review, to 2-grade-level/age connection, to 3-the stretch.  I also like the learning experience to leave room for student ideas, passions, and interests.

Deeper Learning
My work with the Deeper Learning MOOC will impact this work too.  I'll apply the terrific concepts such as critique, mastery, and creations that represent quality and meaning to our lesson work.

UClass represents the private face of education while I mostly work in the public sphere of education.  I've enjoyed the push, tools, and outreach UClass has provided to me--elements which have served to inform and improve my classroom work.  I look forward to this weekend of study. I wonder what the synergy and collaboration of the event will bring forward with regard to my classroom work to teach children well.