I Used to Think, But Now I Think……

After teaching a graduate class to veteran teachers for the past few years, I’ve found that many teachers are not comfortable planning lessons based on the curriculum standards. They find it very hard to think outside of the box or think creatively when planning lessons and designing learning opportunities. I’m not sure if this is due to the emphasis on standardized testing and teacher accountability based on test scores or if it is due to the lack of trust from principals when teachers incorporate project based learning in their classroom.  I have seen teachers only want to use the examples that are written on the portal or units that have been taught in the past, instead of studying the standards and focusing on learning goals and creating their own lessons.

Understanding by design  is where we should begin. Please take time to read this article about teaching technology to teachers. The focus is not on the technology, but on the learning goals.  My focus when I lead professional development is to teach Common Core and Standards Based Curriculum by engaging students using interactive strategies that involve technology and non-technology based activities. Think of the learning goal when planning lessons and use technology if it is appropriate. Technology is one of the tools teachers and students will use to master the content and demonstrate their knowledge.  Be creative and focus on your students this year as your plan your lessons.

“I used to think that teachers needed help learning the newest Web 2.0 tools, but now I think they need to know how to use a simple tool to teach vocabulary, main idea, summarizing, character analysis, story structure, writing strategies, research techniques.”

“I used to think that teachers needed help creating interactive flipcharts, but now I think they need to know how to seamlessly plan their day so that their lessons are integrated and flow based on their learning goals.”

4 thoughts on “I Used to Think, But Now I Think……

  1. Audrey Smith

    I do agree that the goal needs to be in mind. My mind works usually works works “backwards” from the end being the beginning for me. If I know where I need to go, there are multiple routes to get there. Unfortunately I also feel that standardized testing has hampered our ability and freedom as teachers to be as creative as we’d like.

  2. Sroper

    In Ken’s video on multiple intelligences, he referred to how students are not encouraged to use the things that interest them. But a revolution in education is changing that view. In high school students take a test to help determine what career would best suit their interests and skills. I think it is very important that we as teachers help foster students’ interests because students will continually discover new likes and dislikes. When a student is applying a skill taught in class to something that interests them then they will retain that skill. The application to relative everyday uses helps the student associate that skill with the real world. It gives real meaning to the skill. We are no longer just teaching to standards and tests but to real world application.

  3. Shana

    “I used to think that teachers needed help creating interactive flipcharts, but now I think they need to know how to seamlessly plan their day so that their lessons are integrated and flow based on their learning goals.”

    SO TRUE!! I don’t need help with technology…give me a “click on this” manual and I will be okay. I can explore…I can learn how to use this program /app/gadget. Help me to help my students go from A to B effectively with technology and without. Help me to choose the best program or app for my students to use to master their standards.

  4. Kim

    I think that it is important for teachers to be able to use differentiating technology in their lessons, however, the most important thing is that they can teach! I do think the district portal is helpful for lesson ideas and templates, but too many teachers solely rely on the portal and aren’t able to write good, creative, interactive lessons on their own. I think that teachers and administrators cling to the given lessons because they are standard and are supposed to cover everything the student is supposed to know, but I have seen that the given lessons do lack a lot in creativity and the ability to be technologically interactive.

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