We have successfully reached the end of another term at Western Oregon, and boy are my arms tired! In all seriousness, this term was very informational and my educational technology class accounts for a lot of my new found useful knowledge. For our final project in this class, we were charged with creating our own lesson plans for any subject and any grade level, so long as they incorporate different types of technology. Having no experience making lesson plans before this class, I have to say I am shock at how difficult it is to truly incorporate everything into a succinct doccument. I guess I just assumed that teacher basically follow whatever the textbook says since that was the majority of the classes I have taken. It was a lot to take on, especially while battling two very intense math finals and a 10 page paper simultaneously. Instead of folding into a ball on the floor, I got some coffee and started to unpack this assignment.
Looking at this massive task, I started by narrowing my field to a high school math class, since that is my desired content area and age group. After this first step, my next thoughts turned to, “What exactly is being taught in high school math right now?” Thankfully we a whole website of Common Core State Standards, just ready and waiting to be used in lesson plans. These standards are written in a very official sounding language, and I found them confusing even while understanding the content area. I felt like I had hit a brick wall. Not only did I not know what I wanted to do, but I could hardly figure out what the standards were telling me. At this juncture I did the only logical thing I could think of, which was to google search a specific standard. After digging through some advertisements and some useless sites, I finally came across a gem called Better Lesson. This site is a goldmine of complete lesson plans, written by real teachers, that are inline with every common core standard out there. Searching this free site for a specific common core standard lead me to hundreds of lessons that incorporated it. I looked through a few of the lesson plans and felt like I finally understood what my standard was trying to get at. With this knowledge in mind, I was able to identify what tasks I wanted my hypothetical class to take on, and I could finally start planning.
If I have any fears about this lesson plan, it would be over how I can evaluate and use the materials and resources for this lesson. From my understanding, evaluation can only take place after something has actually happened. I found a few sites helpful, including this blog post on self evaluation, but nothing really addressed my concerns about evaluating a lesson plan that has not actually happened. I guess the best I can hope for in evaluation is to wait for peer feedback when I present it to the class during finals week, but there is something very unsatisfactory about winging it like that. Maybe I’ll have some 11th hour inspiration, or maybe I’ll just have to live with it.
Whatever the outcome, I am learning a lot about creating thoughtful and appropriate lesson plans, and incorporating technology into my future classroom. No matter what, I know these lessons will serve me well in the future.