I have been planning English Language Learner lessons over the last twelve years that I thought were strong considering I had no formal instruction. Throughout the course of this class, however, I discovered I have been leaving so much out. There are three reasons why this class has helped hone my curriculum design and lesson planning ability.
The first reason I credit toward reading Rigorous Curriculum Design by Larry Ainsworth. Without the support of this book I would not have a researched based resource to help guide me in why curriculum design is important and how to effectively design lesson plans. Ainsworth (2010) not only provides research and explicit examples of how to create “rigorous curriculum” (page 7) but also lesson plan templates (page 244) and multiple sample weekly lesson plan examples (page 233-240). These were most helpful when working through my own lesson plan course assignments. Rigorous Curriculum Design is a book I am sure I will reference, reflect and use often as an emerging educator.
The second reason this class has helped refine my curriculum design and lesson plan ability is through experiencing the effectiveness of collaborative work. The class discussion each week enabled me to think through ideas and learn from my colleague on a deeper level of content meaning. For example, in module 4 we were asked to post 10 out of 20 learning targets we were developing for our unit assignment and then to respond to two of my classmates offering feedback. This was helpful in revising my work as they gave excellent suggestions (I wonder…) and constructive evaluation. This assignment served as an excellent model as to how I can use this teaching instruction, peer review and feedback, in my own class in the fall. It also served as an excellent reminder of how collaboration with other educators can lead to overall better student achievement (Ainsworth, 2010, page 203).
Finally, the overall structure of the class (how we designed our lessons, built on content knowledge, engaged learning targets and reflected on our course assignments) had a profound effect on how I will design lesson plans in the future. Each step I took in to revise my course lesson plan assignment revealed how I can better meet the diverse learning needs in my future classroom as well as helped me reflect on the effectiveness of my lesson plans by using formal and informal assessments.
I am really pleased with what I have learned in Curriculum Design. It is a fundamental course all educators should take. To view a piece of one of my coursework assignments click on the following link:
Ainsworth, L. (2010). Rigorous Curriculum Design. Colorado: Lead Learn Press.