A Big Boo Boo!

Well, tech challenge here. A few hours ago I responded to Jerry’s post about unit planning with comments in carats. Little did I know that my response would not show up for reasons that I won’t go into here–you know better than I what I did wrong I’m sure.

So, I’ve decided to post my response….you can figure out the gist of J’s post or you can read it way down on the blog..a comment after his post about his unit plan.

RE: allowing that “reflective” writing tasks will motivate students to “direct their own writing tasks”
Wouldn’t that be wonderful in the best of all possible worlds…reflective writing should be a staple in our ELA classrooms as it should be in EVERY content area classroom And students will as we know from S’peare, “find direction out” as they reflect…or some will. We still need to craft writing prompts that engage students in the meaning-making processes (and enduring understandings!) we want them to develop. I will look for carefully crafted writing prompts in the unit plans.

RE: Mini-Lessons for [strugging] writers
ALL of our students will be strugging writers–oh some will be more skilled than others of course. But I was a strugging writer when I produced my dissertation and I was 50+ years old. Well-crafted mini-lessons are for ALL writers.

RE: filling up the period
Look to instruction that makes good use of writing and reading strategies, encourages students to work in multi-media and multimodal ways, and imagines teaching at its best … What will we do with lit circles? How will these circles become focal points for whole/part class “work,” etc. etc? How seed the curriculum? How respond to our essential questions? Surely there’s plenty of teaching to do here.

RE: UbD Template–Challenges there!
We have been talking about essential questions for weeks…as curriculum designers you have been introduced to a new way to frame your choices–what and why you will teach what you teach. I certainly do not expect you to master UbD processes in a semester, maybe not in some years. I want you to work w/the template–without further instruction–before you begin to have the opportunity to share your own understandings of how it can guide your planning with your peers and with me.

I’m being very intentional about that. I want you to think deeply about the why, the how and the what of your work with kids. UbD helps us do that. When internalized (and this will take TIME) it can be a very valuable guide to have as you face years of lesson planning and curricular decision-making. What do you all think an enduring understanding is??? That’s what I’m interested in. Return to the reading in McTighe/Wiggins…and keep returning to it. How DO we craft enduring understandings? These are critical questions (THANK YOU Jerry!!) we will raise as we work on this unit. What is a “peformance task?” An “authentic assessment?” Let’s continue to imagine answers to these questions. There are NO wrong ways to work w/the UbD template. It offers a process for thinking about this assignment. You are in the draft stage only in these next weeks. It will not come all at once, or even this semester. I am STILL learning how to think about all of these things. Join me.

6:00: Time to Chat
This hour is my office hour…and I wanted to invite those of you who can to come to it. It is not an instructional hour although I do consider our conversation “instructional.” No one needs to come visit with me and peers at 6 o’clock to get instruction they are not getting in class. It is an opport. for you to have a listening ear…that’s all. It is not “more” class. I like talking w/all of you and I notice folks don’t generally come to hours for good reasons…work related usually. So this is a little bit more of an invitation to come and talk w/your profesor. That’s all!

Thanks J (always) for prompting me to share w/you some of my thinking as a teacher/instructional designer. KES

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