I really like the way the teacher lays out her objectives on page 68 and 69. She has made it very clear what they will KNOW, UNDERSTAND, and BE ABLE TO DO... I think this is what the district has tried to do; however this format is super straight forward and easy to follow. There is no second guessing or having to spend hours trying to come up with an extra activity that may or may not be congruent with the objectives that have been laid out. I really think these "3 parts" are excellent discussion anchors for topics at team planning meetings. I plan on pulling parts of this out for our second grade unit on geometry.
I think that the unit overview’s timeline would be most helpful (example on page 98-101)-I like the breakdown of the number of lessons and class periods needed. I also think having the differentiated components broken out would be helpful with planning as it is so clearly spelled out and easy to reference.Another format item I think would be beneficial is providing student choice on unit assessments as seen on p. 118 and p. 150 and 151. The formal assessment had at least two levels of readiness as did the final projects. Student interest or learning styles were considered throughout the book.And the final format idea and structure I would like to try is the RAFT option charts such as on p. 123 so that the student has choice but Gardner’s multiple intelligences are taken into account. This RAFT chart is a new concept to me and I think it would interesting to try something like it.
When Brandy B, stated the importance of the 3 parts in planning she makes a good point. I do like the layout as well. I also agree that it clarifies the congruency.
I am going to take the next couple of weeks, sit down, and completely write out a project for my 4th grade music classes using the format found in Chapter 4. (pgs. 95-127) This feels more comfortable and fits my teaching style more readily than the format of Chapter 5. I will write the project in detailed form, implement it, and then reflect both personally and with my students. I haven’t written an entire project in such detail format in many years. I think it will be a great way to consciously differentiate in my music class.
In response to cynthiamer:I too like the idea of offering the kids choices on pre-assessment. Multiple Intelligences in differentiation seems to be a real key to success.
As we have already said, pre-assessment is vital to successful teaching and learning, so I definitely plan to think through my units of study and implement pre-assessments to determine what students already know. The authors of the units describe their pre-assessments on pages 101, 102 and 136 respectively. I also like the idea of the tiered assignments based on the ability level of the groups. Both units give several examples of tiered assignment so I feel I have a good start on how to create them. However, I am thinking I would implement them a tad differently-giving all students the choice of the 3 different assignments and letting them choose the one that best fits them as a learner. Learners can surprise you and succeed at an activity that seems to be too difficult for them. It’s the old ‘where’s there a will, there’s a way’ theory. As I teach Math this year, I am planning on using the geometry unit presented. I feel, like the author of the unit, that geometry is under taught in elementary school and can be easily done using manipulatives.
Isn't this the same question from session 2, question 2?
I like how the Unit Concepts and Generalizations at the beginning of each unit capture how the topic of study relates to bigger ideas (p.96 and p. 130). As I noted previously, I also like how the unit overviews are separated into whole-class components and differentiated components. It shows how the teachers have thought through their units very carefully. I would like to be as organized and meticulous creating units in the future.
I am assuming this question is meant for chapters 4 and 5, since it is the exact same question as least session for chapters 2 and 3. I like how the units start with a pre-assessment and introduction, as seen on pages 98 and 132. That way, the teacher knows where the students are, where their confusions are, and how to best meet their needs. Also, the teacher knows who may need more of a challenge. I also like that after all the lessons, there is a self-selected final product to wrap things up, as seen on pages 118 and 151. That way, students can choose the way that best suits them to express their knowledge gained by the unit.
Oh Karen, I wish you taught music at my school! Our music program is very much set in stone and the kids are none to fond of it. I hope you will share at the music teachers meetings
I too find the way the objectives are laid out - KNOW, BE ABLE TO, UNDERSTAND to be helpful. It's a perfect destination for the road map. (p97 & p68). Originally I planned to use the "We're All in This Together" unit with my PGP students but after reading the comments in this section I think I'll change to Geometry - which is rather amazing considering my feelings toward the subject.
cynthiamer, RAFT is new to me too and it's something I'd like to know more about. In fact, I think it's something many teachers in the district would like to know more about.
The format of units 4 & 5 were great. This format is something I can easily do in my classroom. The objectives are very clear and each lesson that is planned to carry out the objectives. I was really impressed with the menu on page 124. The kids get really excited about choice. I also like the math self assessment on page 153, as it is something that can be used in any grade. One of my favorite activities was the 3-2-1 exit card on page 117. It is a great way to close a lesson. Usually my lesson closes by saying, “hurry up, we are late for lunch!” This is an easy one to remember; now I will just have to allow time for it!
I think that this post is more for Units 4 & 5 and it was just by accident that we were asked about 2 & 3. So, going on this "gut" feeling, I going to discuss Units 4 & 5. These 2 units are pretty doable and seem a no - brainer for me to implement this next year! I like that the content goes with what we are already being accountable for. I like the way they have broken the unit down to give multiple opportunities for students to be engaged in learning. I also like the way in which they offer choice. I am going to do my hardest to create menus (which is like the "choice" options on 117. This year that students can select for a project grade. It will have many different lessons that incorporate technology.
I am making an assumption that this is an error and we are discuss chapters 4-5. In Unit 5, I like how the “big picture” is laid out with the Standards addressed, Concepts and Generalizations, Objectives and Instruction strategies. I think sometimes we follow the curriculum outlined for us in Eduphoria and the Instructional Road Map that is supplied by the district, but I don’t know that we really are looking at the big picture of where we are headed as shown on page 129 and 130. In chapter 5, I do like the Unit Overview on page 132 and how it is broken down into the individual lessons, with an estimate of how long it will take. I am intrigued by the “discussion of homework examples” on page 132 and the author’s reflection of differentiated homework assignments, as described on page 135. Homework is a continuing issue I believe in this district, or at least at my school. We are told that it cannot be graded, that it cannot be longer than 1 hour of work per night. I don’t know how many schools adhere to that. I find that so many of the teachers at my school believe that there should be consistency in the homework given for all of the students, especially across the grade level. Last year, we had three sets of twins and we often discussed that homework be consistent for each child. It’s hard to differentiate when you are so focused on that philosophy. Something to discuss next year.
I agree with tif that all of the units begin with a preassessment and an introduction. Again, not something that I always see in our curriculum at the district level. I also agree that the self-selected final product is the way to go, especially after my recent conference trip!
Focusing on what Theresa said, I started menus last year. I like menus. I do believe they can be hard to create. It would be a great idea for those teachers from the same grade levels to share menus they create. Don't reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
In Chapter 2 pages 61-66 it has many suggestions for plant anchor activities that I will be able to incorporate into a station within my science class. I really love the ability to let the students choose which activity they would like to do and share their knowledge with me about plants. The observation sheets on pages 64-65 are an excellant want for students to organize their thinking. I like how the students have to predict was are the possible causes for the way the plant looks. Finally on page 66 is a quick list of books that I can check out and have readily available at the different lab tables for the students to refer to when they have a question or want to know more about a topic. Love the progression of this lesson!
I agree with cynthiamer's response about giving students a choice in their preassessment/final assessment- I really want to see what they have learned- not what I think should be on a quiz. Am looking forward to grading more than one kind of assessment/product!- Sharon G.
I think the sample units are all good examples of preplanning and having menus to challenge and differentiate instruction for students. These formats would be easily implemented in any content area covering any parts of the curriculum. I appreciate the thoroughness, and especially the preassessment and different menu activities to keep things challenging and fresh.
In response to Sharon, I like your thinking about the Plant lesson and how you can incorporate that into your class. I can't wait to hear how it goes!
In response to Ms. E and Theresa- I love menus and agree that they are time consuming to implement at first. We need to collaborate and work together to share menus across grade levels. With all of the technology tools available that shouldn't be too difficult. I also have the doc files for all of Laurie Westphal's menu templates if anyone needs those to help them get started. Menus naturally allow students to self-select and work at their own pace.
In reponse to CynthiaMer's comment on the RAFT chart... I love this idea. It is so open ended and ties right into writing thinking about Audience and Format. I can't wait to use this as it will be such a creative way for the students to communicate about their knowledge!
My favorite parts of chapter 4 & 5 are the exit card activities. For example on page 112, the students have to write or draw the definition of symmetrical or congruent. That is a quick activity that lets you know who “got” what you did that day and how deep of an understanding they have. It will help you keep you groups fluid from day to day based on their understanding of the day before. I feel we never have enough time to properly “close” a lesson and in these units so much meaning comes from the closing activities. As I said about chapters 2 & 3, the units are so thoroughly planned out. I will definitely apply a lot of the writing integration into my lessons!
@ BrandyI LOVE what you said:"There is no second guessing or having to spend hours trying to come up with an extra activity that may or may not be congruent with the objectives that have been laid out. I really think these "3 parts" are excellent discussion anchors for topics at team planning meetings." I think that this is so true! I agree with you that our district tries very hard follow the same steps... however, I wish more of our units were developed and laid out in the same way.
@ Carrie & Ms E - once I get some menus created, I will share them with you over google docs. This last year, I sent some rubrics / guidelines out using google docs with my class, and they LOVED using it as a guide. I just need to remember to send it in a way they cannot change it.
I really like that all of the units are formatted to include the standards being addressed as well as the concepts, generalizations, and objectives, and that they show what the students will be able to do at the end of the unit. I think it is really important for students to know what they are going to be learning about, so they know exactly what will be expected of them. I also really like the generalizations that are written out. I think we tend to focus more on the concepts we are teaching without drawing them out to bigger generalizations. These generalizations also help connect the concepts to students' lives and are therefore extremely important. I think that having a list explicitly stating what students should be able to do during and after the unit is really helpful for planning.
I agree with Carrie's response on July 12 about the exit cards. I wrote down a few things that really stuck out to me as I was writing and the exit cards were on my list. I feel like they would be a really easy and quick way to check what students are getting and can be done on the way out the door. I'm anxious to try it in my classroom!
I have a great deal of content to teach through the library program and in collaboration with teachers on all grade levels, PreK - 5th grade. I would love to use the unit design for as many lessons as possible. This would mean a great deal of collaboration and interaction with the classroom teacher, which, in theory, is perfection, but in practice, sometimes falls short due to time constraints. It's extremely difficult to work individually with 35 classes and differentiate for every single one of them with fully rounded-out units of study such as these. Baby steps, I think, are in order here. And in my library, the baby steps begin with PGP, the 1st/2nd grade gifted group that I work with. I would like to take our older "getting to know you" unit that we usually begin with and give it the Differentiated Treatment. In particular, I'd like to focus primarily on the RAFT chart on p. 123. I think it's perfect for PGP.
In response to Theresa... I also love the ideas of "menus" or "options" for students. I used to use these when I taught 1st grade, but I haven't given students a "menu" option in library very frequently. My PGP students would love to have "options" within their assignments. I look forward to tweaking my program a bit!
In response to "Of Life"... I also agree that the Geometry unit is fabulous! I think it would be a great way to start the year... it's active, informative, flexible, and it could be completed in just a week or 2, or extended, if students are really learning a great deal.
I think I may have mentioned this when I posted for previous chapters, but I definitely like the way the lessons aren't all just one day lessons. When differentiating, different students may need a different amount of time to complete the same tasks. I found some really great ideas such as the round robin review on p. 112-113, the scavenger hunt on p. 117, and the final product process log on p. 126.
In response to Brandy B, I like the concept of using the ideas in this book to assist with team planning. I really feel like the teacher commentary section of the lesson plans would be most beneficial to me for my own reflection and for team planning. I wish I had more time to do this every time I have completed a unit with my class.
Rebecca, I like what you said, "These generalizations also help connect the concepts to students' lives and are therefore extremely important." I agree that it makes us better teachers and helps the students if they can see the big picture. So often, teachers are in a rush to plan and just kind of piece things together day by day. Those connections aren't always there, but it is very important that we try to make them.
I would love to use the complete format that the author uses for each unit, but that may be difficult with eduphoria. What I would really like to intergrate is the explanation of teks and objectives that is before each unit (pages 68,69,41,42, 96,97, etc.). I like the way the teks addressed are listed and the way the objectives are broken up into what the student will "Know, understand, and be able to do." I think by looking at the objectives in this manner, it gives the lesson a clear destination and specific goals. I also would like to incorporate a pre-assessment/introduction for every unit.
I agree with everyone when they are talking about pre-assessment. I love that the assessments are differenciated and non-perscriptive. I am in a unique situation of following my students from 4th to 5th grade and I think that pre-assesments will be essential this year to help us push forward in Science. I know what we covered last year so I need to pre-assess so that we can begin where they are and push to that higher level.I went back to 2&3 even though I think this was probably about 4&5 because I didn't want to repeat all of the good things you guys already put out there. I am going to try to use some of what she did on page 58 with the 3 part assessment. It was differenciated as well as interdiciplinary. This assessment tests on a higher level so that students must process what they have learned to answer and complete tasks.
Does anyone have some menus that they have already created that they are willing to share? If you email them to me, I'll work on converting them into a google docs so that we can share them with everyone...Email them to me if you think this might be firstname.lastname@example.org