Lesson and Unit Planning as a Preservice Teacher

As a preservice teacher, one of the things I want feel more proficient at is lesson and unit planning. I can find my way around the Saskatchewan curriculum quite well. I have many activity ideas, especially when it comes to English Language Arts. However, I don’t yet have experience carrying out the unit plans I have constructed. I am not sure I have succeeded at creating the kind of continuity in concurrent lesson plans that I hope to. Likely, the only way to really know and learn how to improve is through doing. Luckily, I will have the opportunity to do so in my pre-internship and internship. In the meantime, I wish to learn as much theory and practice putting my ideas together.

In the blog post “Planning the Best Curriculum Unit Ever,” Todd Finley blogs about eight planning steps. In this order, he describes the steps as:

  1. Describe your vision, focus, objectives, and student needs.
  2. Identify resources.
  3. Develop experiences that meet your objectives.
  4. Collect and devise materials.
  5. Lock down the specifics of your task.
  6. Develop plans, methods, and processes.
  7. Create your students’ experience.
  8. Go!

He also notes that every lesson and unit has to be uniquely crafted to support the diversity of your students. Differentiation is important and it is important to make sure your lessons aren’t cookie cutter and adapted to suit student needs.

Ideas for unit planning and backwards design is well explained on Dr. Bilash’s website. Here there are different types of units described: “Theme based unit, Literature basedGames basedContent basedField trip basedWriting based, [and] Project based“.

Bilash also provides videos of the process of backward planning from the perspective of a preservice teacher:

Finally, “Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning” can be found on the website for Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. The site gives six steps for lesson planning: “Outline learning objectives,” “Develop the introduction,” “Plan the specific learning activities,” “Plan to check for understanding,” “Develop a conclusion and a preview,” and “Create a realistic timeline”. Breaking the planning process into clear sections can make the task manageable. Planning becomes really fun when all of your ideas can be put into a cohesive learning plan.

While these ideas are helpful, practice and classroom experience is the greatest opportunity for learning what is going well and what needs improvement. I am excited to be able to put all of my ideas together and teach a full unit of study. My goal until then is to consider the process of planning and work my ideas into clear plans.

I would like to receive any additional advice that can help me in my own learning process. What tips do you have? What resources helped you? What else can I do to be prepared to teach?


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