Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where Great Teaching Begins Chapter 1

Something I don't do enough is intentionally read education books. I mean I have them and sometimes will read a chapter or so, but I have no real intention to read the whole book and really think about the concepts. So this year I decided to join ASCD, and actually do some reading. The first book I received from them is Where Great Teaching Begins by Anne Reeves.

I am committing myself to reading and (more importantly) thinking about this book and as such I am going to write a blog post for each chapter. Here are my thoughts on chapter one.

Reeves identifies the purpose of instructional design to make student learning the focus of planning. While this seems like a 'duh' statement, it really hit me. I have always been the guy that says I can link any activity to curriculum. You want to watch a movie about space pirates that become furniture movers, I am the guy that can tell you how to justify it. Obviously, this is a real problem.

I am probably changing my teaching assignment next semester and am already trying to make a plan for how I want to teach the year. Since I am a big history geek I am planning on using that as my big theme and tying in the rest of the curriculum into it. I don't think that will be very difficult, but I really have to make sure I don't pick activities that I want them to do over choosing the learning they need. My plan is to have a broad outline of the year in place before Christmas so I can start fitting in the learning my students need (see, I am already applying what I am learning from the book :).

Another thing that struck me about this chapter is the last section "So Who Are Lesson Plans Really For?" The answer is for the teacher, administrator, and the students. When I read it my first thought was about having students help write the plans. It would seem that the persons most effected by the plan should have some voice in it. What do you think?

 Reeves, Anne R.. Where great teaching begins: planning for student thinking and learning. Alexandria, Va.: ASCD, 2011. Print.