August 8, 2006

Prewritten lesson plans in Miami

Matt Pinzur's Miami Herald story yesterday about lesson plans that the Miami-Dade system wrote for every grade, every subject for the beginning of the year (the first 10 days) is interesting. (Sample second-grade lesson in PDF.) The theory of action is that having pre-written plans will help teachers at the beginning of the year who need support, especially first-year teachers, will set the expectation that teachers should be engaged in academic instruction from the very first day, and will encourage teachers to do more long-term planning in the pre-opening days than focusing on detailed lesson plans.

Using the lesson plans is not mandatory—this year, under this superintendent (Rudy Crew). Miami's central bureaucracy claims it will survey teachers to see what they thought. This is different from systems where teachers are told exactly where to be on which day. The principle—support but don't mandate—makes sense in abstract, but there is the expectation created by the plans that if you don't use these, you better be using your own plans and be teaching from the first day. This strikes me as classic Rudy Crew.

My reaction to the lesson plan itself: wow, this is the heavily detailed version of lesson planning. (The actual procedure takes about 30 lines of description, not the 100 or so that's the complete description. The "beginning, middle, end" by itself is pretty mundane, unless spiced up by the teacher, and I have no idea whether the suggested story has anything other than the typical basal reader pap in terms of structure. Also, the independent practice is not about story structure but decoding. Whoops.) I'm sure it was intended as a model, but it might be intimidating instead. If a brand-new teacher needs two pages to link every half-hour segment of teaching to standards, he or she will never be able to finish planning a week, let alone the whole school year.

Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on August 8, 2006 5:33 AM |