Samstag, 28. Januar 2012

thought a week - creating and filling a lesson plan

Even tough there are plenty of lesson plan templates out there, working with a lesson plan and actually filling it can be very hard for student teachers in the beginning. If you are fortunate enough you get to know all sorts of different styles of lesson plans during your studies. Our professors always told us that it’s not mandatory to use this or that specific lesson plan, but it’s key to know what’s out there and how to work with all the different versions.
But in this post, I won’t talk about lesson plans and how you’re supposed to use them. I’d like to write about the creative process that goes behind designing a lesson.
I believe it’s very important for student teachers to find out how and when you get your creative side out while designing a lesson plan. At first I struggled with these things. When I had to design a lesson we sat together with our teacher and we got all the basic information about what we need to do. Just the main theme to the lesson, what skills we should focus on and what material we can/should use and so on. During those sessions I felt pretty much lost. It sounded like way too much and kind of overwhelming. Intuitively I thought, ‘that is absolutely too much and I don’t even know where to start’.

Of course the first thing you start to do, without even thinking about if it actually makes sense, you just sit down and try to work something out with the input you got. As the hours went by and no progress was in sight, I decided to take a break and let it rest. It was frustrating because you like to get the lesson done as soon as possible, especially if you know what kind of lesson you want. Since we had enough time to finish the planning, I thought it’s not a problem if I just came back to it the next day. Two days later I was supposed to meet up with my colleague in the library to work on the lesson plan. I arrived earlier then the appointed time, but I thought to myself I’ll just wait till he arrives. So as time went by I started to do something else, checking up on seminars and so on. But right at this point the back of my mind starting working. And right in the middle of it, I just took out our template and started to fill it out. After that, it was smooth. By the time my colleague arrived I completed the lesson plan and the only thing he needed to do was check and fill out his closing sequence.
The next time I planned a lesson, I tried a different approach. First of all, at the planning session with our teacher, I just made sure I listened carefully, took notes and nothing more. No immediate planning and no thinking about the lesson. The next step was to stay calm and relaxed and let it come to me. And thankfully it worked again. This time I was writing something completely different for on of my seminars when it hit me. Again, I just took out my sheets and notes, and started working.
Now this all sounds easy, but the point I’m trying to get across is that it may take some time to figure out how and when you have your ‘creative bursts’. I remember planning one of my lessons sitting in the tram. I was on my way home and these ideas popped in to my head, only thing I needed to do, take down notes and write it down properly when I’m home.
It really helped in the sense, that I’m calmer in the beginning, I don’t worry when I’m starting, I just try to let it flow somehow.
As soon as you figured out if you’re the kind that gets a lesson done, while researching everything from the first minute on, or you have to wait one or two days and sit down quietly and then get to work, or maybe you are like me and you have creative bursts and the ideas come when they may.

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