Questions and Answers:

Lesson Planning Workshop: One Classroom, Many Needs

April 20-23, 2010Bernard, Kiel, Lopez, Samuels
These questions were asked on the evaluations from the workshop, or came up during the different sessions.
1. “There is now a separate section (Large Group) on the lesson plan that was not on the last format. However, how does this coincide with the schedule?”
· Review your schedule with your Master Teacher, as ther is no ONE schedule. Weave Large Group Literacy with story time. · Letterland can be used to supplement either in large group or small group literacy.
2. “I’m confused as to when we are supposed to introduce the new concept, if small group begins on Monday. Additionally, the suggestions for Fridays for the lesson plans are not practical. You can have children absent, or those that may need additional help, and these kids may all be on a separate level.”
· Introductions to a new concept can be done in small groups as well as in large group. Which you choose depends on many variables, especially the complexity of the idea or the children’s interest. In many cases, a small group setting is better, as you will see quickly for whom your presentation is appropriate or not. In this case, you may not be addressing various levels (the children are grouped with just your intuition, or totally heterogeneously, however you will do modifications for ELL students and children with IEP’s. Through your observations of the small group intro lesson you will then be able to see the various levels of skills you can address the following week.
· As for the absence issue, children do not learn things in lock-step, so if a child is absent, we go with the flow, and plan for touching base with absent children. Their experiences will not be exactly the same, and that's okay. Some teachers find a way to present teacher-initiated small group lessons from Monday to Thursday, then pick up the children needing reinforcement and/or the absent ones on Friday. This may be a good way to do it in the winter when some children are out with illness nearly every day.
3. What is the exact number of children to take for small group?
· The number of children in small group can be changed. Generally speaking, we suggest groups of 3 so that every child meets with the teacher for a lesson at least twice a week. However, you can have up to 5 to 6, according to the children’s need and ability to maintain attention in that large a group. Threes generally do best in groups of 2-3, and at times, one on one.
One Example: Monday 3 children (Forerunner); Tuesday 4 children (Lvl. II); Wedsnesday & Thurs. 8 total children in groups of 4 (Lv.l I)
On Friday you can work with a multi-leveled group, one level group, or one on one. You might even do one group in the beginning of center time, and another at the end of center time. Remember, "lessons" can also be taken into any center at anytime as a choice (most children will be eager to play with you if it meets there needs), and you can work with one or two children throughout the day.
4. Do I have to write the ELL strategies for each of my English Language Learners on the shadow page (p. 2).
· No, the shadow page is for “red flag” children only. It is not for all your ELL children. At the bottom of page one of the lesson planning form there is a box where you will write the general strategies you intend to use that week for ELL children. Refer to the resource book entitled, Many Languages, One Classroom for strategies.
· Remember, www.bablefish.yahoo.com/ is a site that gives you the sounds of words into other languages so that you can pronounce them correctly as you attempt to speak to a child in his home language.
5. Do I need to list the strategies I use for all children in my class on the CATSS process?
· No, again it should be used for only your “red flag” children. Therefore, if you have a child with extreme difficulties or one where you need to remember any new strategies that have been suggested, the shadow page will be beneficial to you for data. This is for you to use to substantiate what you are doing for the child.
· Keep in mind you may want to be pro-active and use some strategies for a child who may not officially be on CATSS yet, but for whom you have growing concerns. As was mentioned at the workshop, specialists will ask what you have already tried.
· Most of the time you will fill in CATSS strategies that have been discussed and written at the official CATSS meetings. Again, only write for a child or two who you wish to monitor closely. If there are similar concerns for a few children, just write strategies for one child. When a follow up meeting is done, you can then share which strategies worked and which did not.
6. Should I write strategies/modifications for all the children that have IEPs in my class?
· Yes, all children who have IEPs should be on the shadow page. The original modification will come directly from the child’s Individualized Education Plan. Write only their initials. On the top of the page you should fill in the Week of , because it is part of the legal document (weekly lesson plan). For each child the start date of the individualized support should be indicated in their first box.
7. Who can help me with the IEP shadow page?
· There are support people who come in to service your children with IEPs. You should share what you will be doing (page 1) with your class with the Resource Teacher, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, etc. and ask them what strategies you can use to best support the child (page 2).
8. Do I put Standards Indicators in my lesson plans?
· Yes, standard indicators must be included in lesson plans. Using key words would help you learn them and provide more information for your director (optional). Sample: M4.2.1 Positional words
9. How do I use the planning guide?
  • Children do not develop in lock-step, month by month. You will cycle back and do activities using new vocabulary over and over within the year. It is a tool for you to see the possible progression of abilities modeled and guided by your instruction.
  • One way to begin is to read through the guide from September through June for one Standard, while keeping in mind the corresponding Creative Curriculum objectives. For example, take Math Standard 4.1 Numbers and Numerical Operations, which encompass (and may go beyond) the learning in Objectives 28, 29, 32, 33, 34, 37, and the Listening and Speaking objectives. So we see that it is much more complex than “just” objective 34.
  • Work in pieces, by content area, by Standard. Or choose to work first in the Standard or Standards that correspond most closely to the Creative Curriculum objectives about which you feel you have the strongest understanding and teach well. It’s often most efficient (and pleasant) to start with what you know.

10. How should I read my Morning Meeting chart if I wrote it in two languages?
· Separate it. New research states that Concurrent Translation is the least effective way to teach English or the Native Language. You have options: for example, read the chart in English and do your closing circle in another language; or on alternate days . . . read the Morning Chart in L1 (native language) on one day and the next day in English.
  • Singing in other languages can be done throughout the day. It does not need to be separated.


11. What is the difference between Movement and Music on page 1 and page 3 of the lesson plan sheets?
  • Page 1 - This is where you will write the activity/lesson for music and movement large group time. (15 min.) To aid you in planning refer to the Visual and performing Arts section in your Standards on page 20; the Health, Safety & Physical Ed. Standards on page 27 for content and ideas. Chapter 13 in your Creative Curriculum book also gives you additional support.
  • Page 3 - List the items you will place in the center for individual use or for when you join children in play to reinforce skills.