I. Look at the format of the Unit/Lessons document and note the different types of information that are included in this unit plan.
The unit plan consists of:
|Year 8 Semester 2: Energy Types||Unit Identifier – which year and semester and unit heading|
|Essential Question: What is Energy?||Essential question gives us a summation of the unit and what is being explored (i.e. in this unit, identifying ‘What is Energy?’ is more about identifying the types of energy rather than measuring, producing, engineering etc. if the question was ‘Energy’)|
|Time Allocation: 4 weeks (12 x 48 minute sessions)||Structure to outline 4 weeks, depending on the timetable allocation this could be 1 single and 1 double period over the four weeks, or 3 separate periods over the week depending on the school timetable structure.|
|Level 8 Science Achievement Standard:||This statement appears in the Australian Curriculum and the relevant parts have in this example been highlighted where it is matched (see below) with the Australian Curriculum Code|
|The applicable Curriculum Codes and description are colour-coded to verify the content|
|Lesson sequence: Energy Types||This table outlines the content for the plan|
|Numbered sequence of sessions for the four week plan
|Focus What will students know and be able to do?||This outlines what key outcomes from successful completion of the session. These can be used as part of the session’s introduction and conclusion.|
|What are the main learning activities?
|Outlines the activities and how they are delivered within the session; includes links internal and external to the document.|
|What are the assessment tasks?||Outlines the tools used to assess the student’s understanding and gauge their learning (in meeting the planned outcomes through the activities).|
|Example worksheet||Sample worksheets are attached for the use in the planned sessions. Other work activities are hyperlinked throughout the document.|
Whist there are many similarities, the main difference with Vic and NSW sample units (using the Year 8 Science example from above) is the Elaboration for very similar code descriptions. Compare:
|Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge||· considering whether investigation using available resources is possible when identifying questions or problems to investigate
· recognising that the solution of some questions and problems requires consideration of social, cultural, economic or moral aspects rather than or as well as scientific investigation
· using information and knowledge from their own investigations and secondary sources to predict the expected results from an investigation
|Identify questions, problems and claims that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge||· investigating how advances in telescopes and space probes have provided new evidence about space
· investigating how the development of microscopes has changed understanding of cell function and malfunction, and how this has led to improved medical treatments for disease
· investigating how knowledge of the location and extraction of mineral resources relies on expertise from across the disciplines of science
· considering how advances in technology, combined with scientific understanding of the functioning of body systems, has enabled organ repair and replacement
· investigating how land management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can help inform sustainable management of the environment
Whilst the descriptions are almost identical (added “and claims”) the Elaborations are quite different. In the example used above, the Victorian model is quite prescriptive whereas the NSW sample is much broader.
The Victorian model also includes other Descriptions not shown in the NSW model.
Understanding by Design is a fascinating concept as it turns traditional curriculum design on its head by planning around an outcome or goal. The example given by Jay McTighe in likening our planning backward design to planning a holiday or building a house is an identifiable analogy as it requires a plan with multiple event and scenarios to take place to achieve the overall goal. Whilst it is a great tool for teachers to plan, it still leaves room for the teacher to put their own abilities to task with their pedagogical stance and delivery methods but provides a strong structure within which to operate.
Stage 1: Identify Desired Results
In this stage, we identify the knowledge and skills outcomes that students should obtain and/or develop as a result of completing the subject. Knowledge is what the student should know (facts, processes etc.) and the skills component is what the student should be able to do with the knowledge (i.e. when to use it). (Howard, 2014)
As there is a wide range of parts to learn, a teacher planning the curriculum takes guidance from the Curriculum framework to create a plan within these parameters.
Once a general area has been identified, Wiggins & McTighe (2005) discuss the development of curricular priorities into three areas, 1-‘Worth being familiar with’, 2-‘Important to know and do’, 3-‘Enduring’ understanding’. As each subject area has a vast amount of content, not all are going to be critical but may be ‘worth being familiar with’ which could be looked into further if need be (and could be used as extension activities. Secondly if it is ‘important to know’ (i.e. focussed upon in the direction of the curriculum – not everything can be included in every school’s curriculum for every subject) this too is included to help transmit understanding and the future use of the content. Where the learning would be considered ‘enduring understanding’ (i.e. the fundamental principles of this subject and future understanding) it is included in curriculum as a mainstay of the subject content.
Stage 2: Determine Acceptable Evidence
By designing the tools to collect acceptable evidence, we create subject content for a ‘real-world’ value rather than to complete an end of unit exam. Whilst traditional tests, quizzed and exams may be used, there are other ways a teacher can assess the progress being made by the student (i.e. using the knowledge in an appropriate context) collecting evidence of the progress over the period of the subject.
Stage 3: Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction
Here is the final stage –this is now the vehicle we as teachers need to drive to meet the identified ends (the transfer of understanding for the students). It is here that specific tasks, activities, projects etc. can be developed to determine the level of understanding from both formal and informal assessments.
IV. Make a note of the headings you would use in your lesson plans. You could develop your own template and include it in your journal (not compulsory). You will need to bring your suggestions for a lesson plan to the Intensive.
I looked through the samples provided in our course material and found that Template #4 was most suitable for my use. I am familiar with planning using matrices so this format was recognisable and for me easier to follow than others.
I would include the following headings:
|LESSON IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION||Quick reference guide for identifying and sorting lesson plan|
|Name; Topic; Lesson No; Subject; School; Duration; Date; Year level;|
|Learning Purpose/Rationale:||Motivation for the lesson and why we’re doing it|
|AusVELS or VCE focus||Matching with curriculum standards and codes|
|Learning outcomes:||Related back to the expected outcomes from the relevant curriculum area|
|Assessment:||How assessment is going to made|
|Procedure||Identify how the session is to be run and what activities the teacher provides and what activities the students will be undertaking/completing.|
· Teacher activities; (including the Initial engagement into the session, the procedural steps for the lesson to flow, and conclusion)
· Learner Activities
|Teacher’s resources:||Notes as to the planned resources|
|Catering for inclusion:||Any special requirements|
|Students’ resources:||Note of any special student resource requirements|
|Extension activities:||For early finishers/ further understanding|
|Learning space set-up:||Usually as per classroom but may be altered for discussion etc.|
|Self-evaluation: including:||Reflection on the lesson and how it can be improved.|
|· What did students learn/achieve through this lesson?
· What evidence is there that learning occurred and did it match your learning outcomes?
· How could it have been improved?
· How has the assessment informed your teaching (e.g. pace, direction) in this lesson and future lessons?)
|Mentor’s comments:||Tips and critique from teaching mentor|
|ACTION:||Identify any urgent action outcomes to be addressed.|
Technology is exciting for most school-aged students, the ‘digital-natives’ who have grown up with ICT at their fingertips. By using this to improve the learning experience, I see value in being able to present ideas and concepts for students to research themselves and solve problems.
Blended learning takes the emphasis off the teacher as a lecturer and can spend that time instead of lecturing, on working more closely with the individual needs of the student. This includes the learning styles and the range of method used to delivery subject content.
One definition of the ‘Flipped Classroom’ is completing the homework in class whilst doing the introductory learning beforehand (i.e. by watching a video or pre-reading) (Bergmann, J., Sams, Aaron, & Ebsco, 2012). I like the concept as the interest has already been initiated outside the classroom and (usually) in a comfortable environment (such as the family home). I liken it to the enthusiasm and the depth of recall of a class discussing the previous night’s TV show compared to the enthusiasm to discuss homework. The TED Talk given by Salman Khan (2011) outlines his philosophy for creating the Khan Academy and his conviction that it actually increases social interaction within the classroom. I like the idea as it generates a way of thinking where the information is available for students to access at any time (before, during and after in some cases) online to allow each student to learn at their own pace but to also be ready when the class begins.
It is rare and unusual for adults to solve problems with work etc. on their own. Humans are social beings so Collaborative learning is a valuable tool. The opportunity for students to share their knowledge, understanding and values with other members of the group is an important way for students to not only gain understanding of the topic but to build the inter-personal social life-skills so important in our society.
|Jones, Karrie A., Jones, Jennifer, & Vermette, Paul J. (2011). Six common lesson planning pitfalls–recommendations for novice educators.(Report).Education, 131(4), 845.|
|Khan, S. (2011): Let’s use video to reinvent education [Video file] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTFEUsudhfs|