As I start this new year, I want to throw out the challenge that EVERY LESSON PLAN IS A REMIX (thank you @jcorippo) and to revamp your lessons for 21st Century Learning. Perhaps you want to DITCH (thank you @jmattmiller) the lesson plan and begin transforming your classroom to be a place where students can inquire and go deep and not be tied to lessons that haven't been revamped since the days of Windows 2000/OS 9.1, or worse even '95/7.6.)
Think about your learning environment. What does it say about you? What do students think when they enter your room? Does your room cry inquiry and exploration or does it cry notetaking and worksheets? Do students anticipate a great learning experience or do they dread going to class knowing it will lead to being tied to a desk (not literally) with little opportunity to interact with the 5 E's?
We can remix our lessons, remix our classes and make them an environment that challenges (with not just hard work) and students look forward to coming, knowing they will be able to go deep and explore deeper. This does not mean we don't plan for the class. I am not saying that at all. I am arguing that we more away from the canned lessons and go further. Know your protocols and building lessons will come easy. What are your protocols (or steps)?
As we move through this year, I want to challenge you to think about your lessons and yourself. Do you want to be only as good as your next lesson plan? Maybe you pull them out of a textbook or an online curriculum (they do the same thing.) Or are you willing to go further and challenge yourself and your students with something more.
I want to ask a few key questions:
1: What lesson plans do you hold on to year after year? Why?
2: What are three good procedures or tools you are using right now? How can they be used to drive learning forward?
3: What do you need to do to move away from the doldrums of old or even some of the new cookie cutter lesson plans?
4: What do you do when the lesson plans run dry?
As I move into this year, I have a lot of things going on that are new. I have five different classes to prep for as a high school teacher. Elementary teachers, I honor the amount of work you need to do. Four of the five classes I have are new. Two I have curriculum that comes with lessons that even tell me what to say and when to say it. Really? If I follow the easier path, I lose not only creativity but perhaps that what makes a learning environment special. To not be as good as my next lesson plan means going the harder path but creates a learning environment where I think we can go deeper and bring out more success from my students.