Building great lesson plans in a flipped classroom successfully plays a key role in differentiating instruction. My goal as a teacher is a pretty simple one – Do a good job. OK, so that might be a little too simplistic. How can I as a teacher do a good job each and every day? By serving each student and designing lessons and activities to meet each student’s unique strengths and weaknesses. This is what we like to call “differentiated instruction.”
The idea of providing differentiated instruction is appealing; however, actually implementing it can be quite the undertaking. A simple internet search will bombard you with strong opinions on if Differentiation actually works.
Bottom Line – It takes hard work and preparation to differentiate instruction. Weird, who knew? #sarcasmfordays
Aha Moment – Lesson Plans
An important realization that occurred early on in my career was discovering a need to map out my units and reevaluate the way I formed lesson plans. As an extremely visual learner and thinker, I needed a way for me to visualize the various pathways my students could take during their journey to mastering the content. Mindmeister has provided me with an opportunity to view my lesson plans as a “road map.” Students might begin from the same “location” (pretest) and finish at the same “destination” (passing score on the summative assessment), but the way they get there is entirely up to them by either choosing an activity they WANT to complete and/or by providing students with activities that best match their unique strengths and weaknesses usually by placing them in various learning zones.
Has it been easy to come up with a wide variety of activities? No, but Mindmeister has kept it easy to keep track of and make adjustments along the way.
Example for you to use
Take a look at the mindmap template below. You may notice a few things missing that traditional lesson plans might have. For starters, I do not have any dates or even specific days outlined. This is intentional as students work at their own pace. I can have a classroom full of 30 students and each of them might be working on something different. I cannot imagine how difficult this would be to try to write on a traditional calendar planner.
Feel free to click on the “map actions” button within the above mind map to duplicate the mind map and use it as a template for your own lesson planning 🙂
Something you might find especially relevant in the template might be some tips and tricks I have included using some of the basic features of MindMeister.
Each activity is given a background color so that I can easily tell whether this is something for the whole group (green), lower level, orange, middle level yellow, etc. Again, this is something that works for my visual mind. You might develop another method that works better for you.
What makes it great
The best part about this is that these plans are so easy to access. Do you ever get an idea for a neat lesson when you are out and about? How often do you forget about it before you get a chance to write it down? As long as you have a connection to the internet you can quickly load up your unit specific lesson plans and jot it down. Plans are saved and can easily be accessed each year, so the teacher does not need to “reinvent the wheel” every year.
Most importantly, having lesson plans saved and easy to edit gives teacher more time to spend with family, research new teaching practices, start a blog, and rest and relax.
What can you do now to help set yourself up for success? How can you change the way you map out a unit so that you do not feel overwhelmed at any point as you begin/continue to differentiate your instruction?
Have more questions on anything discussed in this post? Reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org