Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Teacher Tip Tuesday - Begin with the End in Mind

Welcome to New Teacher Tip Tuesday! If you are a new teacher or newish to the teaching profession, this series of blog posts is for YOU! After being in the elementary classroom for the past 15 years, I have begun a new position as a New Teacher Mentor. Now that I am in this position, your struggles and challenges are in my view 5 days a week. I remember what that first year was like and I want to tell you - IT GETS BETTER AND EASIER - so hang in there! Meanwhile, check in with me every Tuesday for little tidbits of help that will make your first year a little bit easier.

Begin with the End in Mind

Because I know that you have about a billion things to think about every day and sometimes figuring out what to do first is a challenge, I would like to narrow your focus a little by talking about planning and instruction. There's lots of noise in education that might cloud your focus from the most important aspect of teaching - student learning. It's the bottom line and it's where the majority of your time and effort should be taking place.  So how can you do this? Begin with the end in mind.

What does that mean?  Basically, start at what you want the students to know and learn and go backwards when planning. Most schools, districts, and states use standards whether they are Common Core, Florida LAFS/MAFS, Texas TEKS, or whatever. Begin with the standard and determine what it is the students should know and be able to do in order to master the standard. Plan your instruction, activities, formative and summative assessments to achieve this goal.

Sample plan of activities for RL3.3 that focuses on beginning with the end in mind.

Everything I have planned for this standard relates directly to what it wants students to be able to do. Now when I assess my students, I will know if they mastered this standard or if we need to re-visit it again. The focus should always be on what the students should be learning. If you approach your lesson planning by beginning with the end in mind, your students will learn and you will be putting the most effort in the area of teaching that is most important.

Don't forget to begin with the standard when planning.

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