A Lesson (Plan) Learned

As you may know if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I’ve been working with a group of middle school kids. Things were going along pretty well until three weeks ago. Then, as I was trying to teach them about frequency and frequency bands, I just lost them. They started talking amongst themselves and that was it for the day. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t regain their attention. It was all very frustrating.

At that point, I appealed to the teacher. She said, “What you need is a lesson plan!” Then, she asked what I was trying to cover, and proceeded to walk me through the process of creating a lesson plan. “Remember the five Es,” she told me, “engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate.”

She then sketched out the plan and said that she’d work on it for the next class. Here’s what she came up with:

  • Engage (five minutes). For this portion of the class, we passed out a worksheet with the key terms being covered in the lesson. We had the kids read the words out loud, and then she asked, “OK, what do all these words have in common?” After the kids answered, she wrote it on the board.
  • Explore (ten minutes). Then, the teacher asked, “How can we find out what these words mean?” The students came up with about five different ways to find the definitions, and the the teacher instructed them to go look up the definitions and write them on the worksheet. Some looked up the words in the dictionary, some got on the Internet, and one collared me and asked me to define them for her.
  • Explain (ten minutes). This part of the lesson is the lecture. I explained the concepts of voltage, current, resistance, conductors and insulators, and Ohm’s Law.
  • Elaborate (ten minutes). In this part of the lesson, I gave practical examples. We talked about solar cells, light bulbs, and the kids came up with some interesting questions and observations.
  • Evaluate (ten minutes). The teacher created a little quiz from some questions that are on the Tech license exam. The quiz sheet also had spaces for students to write down what they learned that day and a spot for them to ask a question.

This lesson plan worked amazingly well. The kids did stay engaged for the most part throughout the entire class, and I think they actually learned something. I know that I walked away from that session a lot more enthusiastic than I did the previous class.

Now, I’m concerned that we won’t have enough time to cover all the material before the end of the year. This is something I’m going to have to go over with the teacher, and come up with a plan to fit it all in.

Comments

  1. RE: “Now, I’m concerned that we won’t have enough time to cover all the material before the end of the year. This is something I’m going to have to go over with the teacher, and come up with a plan to fit it all in.”

    That happens all the time in a classroom. You have to have a plan, but you also need to be flexible about your expectations. You’ll get better over time at figuring out exactly how much content/material you can cover in a given time period. As my principal always says, “Monitor and adjust!” You do that constantly in a teaching/learning session with kids.

  2. Bob Bytheway, K3DIO says:

    Simple formula I use is this: PIER.

    Plan, Impliment, Evaluate, Revise (if necessary)

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