Written by: Marcia Kish
CIO for DSD Professional Development
Have you ever walked into a classroom and thought to yourself, that was a good lesson but I wonder how could we turn it into a GREAT lesson?
I am going to walk you through how I turn a good lesson into a GREAT lesson with only the resources that a school might have in his/her environment. First, let's talk about a good lesson vs. a GREAT lesson. A good lesson provides information on the topic to the students with interactive activities, digital content, and whole group instruction. A GREAT lesson starts with the students taking ownership of his/her learning, a teacher showcases key concepts or ideas in a mini lesson, the students explore and engage with the content through adaptive digital content, students have the ability to collaborate, communicate, be creative, use critical thinking skills, and connect with others outside of the classroom walls.
"Change your space, you change your mindset" Marcia Kish
One of the first things to change a Good lesson to a GREAT lesson is change the learning space. Break down the rows and build collaborative groups. Provide learning spaces where the students can stand or sit on the floor. (Yes, our high school students still enjoy sitting on the floor to learn)
Transform a good lesson into a GREAT lesson by breaking the same lesson with the same resources into four or five parts.
Participate in a good lesson with a teacher or colleague. After the lesson, sit down and talk about how the exact same lesson can be broken down into four parts. If you would like, provide me with a lesson plan topic and I will create a video on how I would break the lesson into four parts just fill out the form below and I will send you back a video. Below examine how a good lesson can quickly be changed into a GREAT lesson.
Challenge me to transform your lesson
Take time to self evaluate the lesson from your perspective and from your students perspective
Taking the time to think about what went well during the lesson as well as what roadblocks popped up during the lesson is key for developing a GREAT lesson. I will be the first to tell you that not every lesson will be fantastic the first time you implement a GREAT lesson. Be prepared to have the students tell you that they don't like learning this way. One main reason why students don't like this style of teaching at first is due to the fact that they are in charge of his/her learning. Instead of the teacher telling them what they have to learn, the students have to figure it out for themselves while the teacher is teaching a mini lesson. However, after the third or fourth time implementing the GREAT lesson plan, the students will start to enjoy this style of teaching more and more.
Practice, Reflect, and Try it Again
Give the GREAT lesson plans time. If the GREAT lesson is an epic fail, then try a similar lesson plan again with the same group of students. The GREAT lesson is changing the way you are teaching and changing the way the students are learning. Try out the implementation plan below. Plan for just one GREAT lesson once a week, deploy the lesson, and then reflect on how the lesson worked.
Generate a personal learning network to help toss around ideas and concepts
Watching and learning from other educators that are using the GREAT lesson plan model in their classrooms can be one way to continue to build and generate GREAT lesson plans. Feel free to follow and reach out to them and ask about how the GREAT lesson plan has transformed his/her teaching practice, scores, and levels of student engagement
Sample list of teachers and educators to follow:
Jeff Kish - I.T. person determined to help deliver technology into the classroom.