Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Backward Designing out of my rut!
Planning with the standards at the forefront and working backwards was really eye opening. I loved the process. I have taught these stories for nine years now and this last theme was so much more enjoyable. Backward design was just what I needed to breath new life into the last month of school. Though it took a large chuck of planning, I really had a global view of the concepts to be investigated and how they would impact the enduring understanding. I had such a better idea of where I was headed during my group. I was able to stay on track with my questioning and had higher level questions embedded into the learning rather than sticking to easy factual questions. I actually had the standards written down and knew why and how our learning would impact enduring understanding. Usually when I teach each theme, each story stands alone and I don't tie them together. This time I could tie all the stories together clearly scaffolding the learning from week to week. Next year I would like to take each theme and put together a backward design in the same way. Every story, discussion, assessment, and creative activity would have a reason and clear direction. The students seemed really engaged also. Even though they come to my group already having their reading lessons in the classroom, we could investigate different ideas and go into more depth. One example of this was when we were reading the first story. They knew coming into my group that the mole had to move to a new home and had new mouse friends. We developed their previous discussion what it would be like to move and how the mouse was accepted even though he was different. Our discussion set us up perfectly to grow into the idea of oppression. They could identify with groups who broke free from the constraints of oppression. Now, that's much more enduring that just identifying forms of and reasons for travel. All in all, moving out of the the rut I obviously had gotten myself into after teaching for many years is a welcome move I look forward to continuing to make.