The Perfect Lesson
This morning was it! The lesson was planned and the goals were set. As teachers, we try to plan the perfect lesson with goals that we will be the perfect fit for our students. Then then...reality hits. Half of the time we have to go to plan b or scaffold it differently (and on the fly) in hopes that the students will still get to the end goal we desired/planned. You just never know where this group of 2nd graders is going to take a lesson. They keep me on my toes and I try to be prepared for what they might throw in my direction. But today… we hit the home run of engagement, smashing goals, and being complete 2nd-grade rockstar readers!
Today the lesson was about asking questions when reading in nonfiction. This was a new skill that we have started to work on in our classrooms. As much as kids ask questions they don’t seem to be very proficient at asking questions during a lesson when you really want them to. Since I knew the skill was going to be challenging for them I found a topic I thought would be engaging. It is important to think about what you are asking your students to do, if the skill is new then pair it with something that will either engage them or that they are familiar with. This will allow the students to be able to focus more on the challenge of the skills rather than both pieces.
A bug-eating plant…what could be more engaging than that!? Especially when you start your lesson with a short video showing this venus fly trap catching its meal with a SNAP!
As soon as the jaws closed shut trapping the fly inside my group of kids were hooked and the questions started. Below are some of the questions that the group thought of.
How does the plan close up?
How does it know the bug is there?
How do they smoosh it?
What does the plant need to survive?
Then the students were sent out with a National Geographic article about these bug-eating plants. They were given sticky notes and got to work reading to find answers to our questions. Students were engaged and excited. You could hear so many different conversations happening. Students were talking to each other about the answers they were finding, discussing their misconceptions about how the plant works and proving each other’s predictions from the text!
The perfect lesson doesn’t have to be expensive, incorporate a fancy technology project, or take hours to plan. Sometimes all you need is a good hook and an interesting topic to get the ball rolling.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.1Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate an understanding of key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.3Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.
Megan and Kara are educational leaders, professional development experts, and current classroom teachers who are improving the way instruction is being delivered in the standard classroom.