So my lesson plan has been an ad-hoc document, an objective followed by a list of activities designed to achieve the objective. That's probably fine as far as it goes, but it means that Wednesday doesn't look much like Monday. (Also, Wednesday doesn't often look like Wednesday's plan.) This makes it hard to model the same 3 or 4 classroom-management phrases in Spanish every day, which makes it nigh impossible for me to conduct class entirely in Spanish, which is the goal.
So, I've spent some amount of time looking for a way of making plans that would help establish a more consistent daily class structure. And I finally found a document that was handed to me during the New Teacher Academy meetings, and probably during my teacher education courses in college, based on Hunter (1984):
- Instructional input:
- Activities/Questions Strategies
- Guided practice
- Independent practice
Here's where my issue lies: In the Communication column of my standards, each lesson has to take two things into consideration: context and communicative mode. (Ideally, a lesson should also include some Cultural context; get a student to make Connections between this lesson, other classes, and their own lives; help a student make communicative and cultural Comparisons, and then help move their learning into their Communities. But one step at a time.) If a unit has 3 communicative contexts, it means that there are 18 different lessons that happen in an ideal world: a spoken / listening conversation; an written / read conversation; a listening comprehension; a reading comprehension; a spoken presentation; and a written presentation. Even if you tie together a few (or even all) contexts together for the presentational communication mode, there's still a heap of lessons that should occur.
Given all that, is it even theoretically possible to make tomorrow like today? Probably not, but it's worth the try. But up until now, I've had a different understanding of the structure of a unit. This is a day-to-day model, which seems to sacrifice a big-picture understanding for an illusory class-structure uniformity. I've always understood a unit to be a different kind of thing: a presentation, modeling, and practice of vocabulary in a wide context, followed by a closer examination of the vocabulary and grammar necessary for specific communicative tasks. Communicative practice activities, a few activities that tie in all the different contexts, a day of review, then a test.
Anyway, I'll try this "new" lesson plan format and see if I can make it work for me. It will probably be rough going for a while, but once I get the hang of it, I think it will tie objectives, instruction, practice, and assessment a lot closer together. (That's the point of the format, after all.) Also, I think it will increase my students' capacity for taking Spanish as the primary classroom language in the future.
Update: Two minutes of further reading revealed Marzano's claim that this lesson plan structure "is best suited for kessons that address procedural knowledge" (180). Good for some situations, but not all. I'm still going to try it for a little while; there's a lot of procedural-type stuff in communication: how to say you're going to do something, how to listen for key vocabulary, how to identify the main idea of a passage. I think vocabulary learning may more neatly fit in with "declarative knowledge," which is a different ball of wax.
Hunter, M. (1984.) Knowing, teaching, and supervising. Using what we know about teaching. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Modified by Wilson-O'Leary for teacher conference.
Marzano, R. (2007.) The art and science of teaching: a comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 181.