Today I’m going to share two more of my expanded answers to the questions on the REAP application:
3) What three things do you most want to know about your students?
REAP answer: In order to best work with my students, I need to know something about their family and educational backgrounds, past successes and failures, as well as their feelings about learning.
Expanded answer: (I think much of what I would address here I already did in my expanded answer for question 2 so I’ll stick with just expanding the last part here) I want to know how my students’ feel about learning. How do they feel about how they have learned in the past? How to they feel about each subject area? The approach I use with students is different depending on this. When students were in my communication arts class and made it clear they didn’t like reading and writing I made the effort to find things in subjects they were interested in to engage them. The student who was in to social studies, especially the WWII and politics I found books on those topics. Students who really enjoyed math were ones who tended to enjoy getting formulas for how to write a good strong sentence or paragraph. Students who did better with visuals often enjoyed diagramming sentences. If a student feels overall that they are just not a good learner it is up to me to point out their strengths and successes every chance I get, to help them to begin recognizing their own successes.
4) What do you need to know in order to begin lesson planning for a class?
REAP answer: In order to begin my lesson planning I need to be familiar with the core curriculum standards and areas of the MAP in which students scored lower than proficient previously, I also need to ascertain my students background knowledge in the area for which I am planning.
Expanded answer: To plan an effective lesson I need to know what my students already know, what they are expected to learn during my class and what they will be expected to know in the future. As the common core standards build on each other year after year I need to know what the standards are for the grade previous to what I’m teaching, the standards for my grade, and those of the next grade. I want to know what my district/school has pulled out as the Essential Learning Objectives of the CCSS. Have they unpacked the standards if so what did were the results. I do want to know as a whole how students in my building and grade scored on the MAP test not because I think it is a good indicator of what students truly know but as a general indicator. I want to know how the students from my previous year scored on the MAP so that I can better assess my teaching. Did I lean too heavily towards fiction and not have enough non-fiction or vice versa? Do my students score well on multiple choice but not on constructed response? I begin my lesson planning with a unit plan that starts with the learning objectives, then write the summative assessment, then write my lesson plans. I also want to do a pre-assessment to see what background knowledge my students have in that area.