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  • Writer's picturejmblanusa

Tips for Parents Now Being Teachers

I've taught high school, college and graduate school. I teach teaching and learning. Been doing this for 35 years. Here are some general tips for lesson planning and teaching your kiddos, now also your students.

First, figure out what you want to study (we call this a "unit"). Then, and more importantly, figure out WHY. Why are you choosing this subject? What do you want them to learn? To know? And more importantly, by "learn" and "know" what do you mean? These are called "unit objectives."

By saying you want them to know &/or learn you could mean many different things. You could mean memorize, be able to apply the knowledge to a similar situation and/or the real world. You could mean they can evaluate what are "facts" vs. "assumptions" or "opinions" and what are "valid" or "reliable" resources for better "understanding" (and what would that look like?) this subject.

There are many things you could mean by "know & learn." Write those out. If you want some ideas, go to my blog "So What is Critical Thinking." That'll give you some good ideas and language. Just be clear you and your students know what the overall expectations of this unit are.

Second, you then set out a series of lessons - often in a sequential order, so one lesson builds on another, or contributes something different - that help your child learn what you expect them to learn. In teacher talk we call this "scope & sequence."

Each of these daily lessons are why we create a "lesson plan." And each plan has an "objective" that fits with the overall objective of the unit, the "whys & whats" of the unit.

For each lesson plan, create an assignment that lets you know if the student(s) is/are learning what you set out to teach.

If the assignment says they haven't, then here comes the challenging part; why? You have to ask yourself why? And be brutally honest with yourself. Was it because it was a bad assignment? (maybe). Were they not ready for this lesson yet? Had I not prepared or given them decent instructions? Or was it because they didn't try hard enough?

Ask all these questions.

Then...and this key...LISTEN, OBSERVE & ADAPT/ADJUST accordingly.

Third, once you feel you've done enough daily lessons to achieve your overall goal, it's now time to ask for a larger assignment that allows the student to demonstrate they've learned what you were trying to teach. That assignment can come in a variety of forms; a paper, a presentation, a video, a video group chat, a song, a written dialogue between creative. Just make sure that the final assignment will help you determine if you and they achieved what you set out for them to achieve from the beginning. If it shows they haven't...well, then you're back to LISTEN, OBSERVE & ADAPT/ADJUST all over again.

This is just a rough foundation, but it's a great place to start. To get you thinking, and being creative, organized, and well....helping your kiddos to learn.

If you want some ideas of what you might do to make the lessons fun, check out some of my other blogs.

If you want some help, contact me. I LOVE helping people design and implement (& troubleshoot) lessons and learning. I love for that!

Have fun. Teaching and learning are a blast!

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