Lesson design and planning has always been one of my favorite tasks to do as a teacher. I just love planning a focused, standards-based, student-centered lesson. I love gathering ideas, and searching for available resources, but most of all I think I love imagining my students not only learning, but enjoying the experience.
A few months ago I attended a Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) workshop about how Whole Brain Teachers design and deliver quality lessons using the Big Seven. Wow! Ever since that Saturday, I have slowly been assimilating the design principles that truly make a WBT lesson powerful, engaging and effective. As with any new skill, it hasn’t always been easy. However, even in my very short time of implementation I’ve seen growth in my students’ skills and knowledge. In the world of Whole Brain Teaching, that’s called Teacher Heaven.
5 Step Lesson Design
A Whole Brain Teaching lesson is composed of 5 steps:
- Critical Thinking
For more detailed information regarding WBT lesson design and delivery, go to their website and download the free e-book “Whole Brain Teaching: Lesson Design and Delivery.” I would also recommend doing a search on YouTube for an example of a WBT teacher in action. Here’s one I found very interesting:
Lesson Design Checklist
Even though I’ve been enjoying my first week of summer break, I’ve used my time wisely in preparation for becoming a WBT Model Classroom. This week I focused on revising my Social Studies lessons. I’ve created a WBT Lesson Plan Template based on the principles of Whole Brain Teaching and I’ve included it in this post. Because I love a checklist, here’s a brief run down of what I did to revamp my lessons WBT-style.
- Reviewed the Standards.
- Outlined a Sequence.
- Wrote the Lessons.
- Researched or Created the Resources.
- Made the Power Pix.
- Created a List of Review Questions.
Learning By Doing
The hardest part of the lesson writing process – and one I would be the first to admit that I still could use a lot of practice on at this point – is the Critical Thinking piece. It’s important that students really apply their knowledge, and that typically means a writing component…not just another worksheet. I admit, it’s hard to sometimes let go of the latter, mostly because of habit more than anything else. I still have a few qualms about how best to evaluate my students and assign them grades…I’m hoping to get a few practical suggestions from other teachers at the Whole Brain Teaching website’s forum. That’s one of the things I love about trying something new – not always having the answers beforehand, but discovering possibilities along the journey. Uncomfortable? Sometimes. I can’t tell my students to take chances in learning if I’m not willing to do it myself.
Lesson Design Practice Continues
Next week, I tackle Science! I’m sure that this time next year I will look back at these early lessons and shake my head at my beginner attempts. However, that’s how I learn – read, think, try and reflect. Are my lessons perfect? Nope, but I am growing as a teacher and that’s a worthy effort.