Digital lesson planning: A deeper dive, part one

If you missed Friday’s blog post, you’ll want to start there. Today, we’ll start walking through the Digital Lesson Planning Template, linked here.

So you can get a peek at where we’re going, I used this template to plan my content for this week for my students, which focuses on analyzing data (a CS standard), applied to global climate change through the lens of the Coronavirus. You can check out the slides I shared with my students (along with a video walking through a few directions) here.

The key to planning an effective digital lesson (without losing your mind) is to curate resources before spending hours creating and uploading your own. I follow these five steps:

  1. Identify what you want them to learn
  2. Scour the internet and categorize your resources (Curate!)
  3. Create any resources needed to fill the gaps
  4. Create two choice boards
  5. Pull it all together in one student facing file

Today, we’ll go through the first two, tomorrow we’ll focus on resource creation, and finally, we’ll talk about student-facing files on Wednesday. So, without further ado, lets get started:

Identify what you want them to learn. The first step of digital lesson planning likely looks a lot like traditional lesson planning: start with the end in mind. What do you want them to learn this week? What content standards will this week’s work align with? What objectives will you share with students? Are there specific things they need to be able to do (skills they need to demonstrate), or is there some flexibility in HOW they will show mastery?

Scour the internet and categorize your resources. This is the fun part. Use a few of my favorite go-to sites and our old friend, Google, to find resources that would support students as they work to learn the material. Your goal in this process is to identify a diverse set of resources that fit all objectives/standards while also giving students multiple options for how they will learn the information. I like to use a Google Doc template like this one to track resources — it helps you to separate out different objectives and ensure you’ve included videos, readings/articles, recordings, and tasks that encourage student exploration. Bonus: this is a great starter template for one of the choice boards we’ll talk about later. If you’re new to curating resources, the following websites are a great place to start:

  • YouTube: If you’re teaching a standardized curriculum (like the many CS teachers who utilize CS Discoveries), search specific lessons – there are tons of existing, strong tutorials that other teachers have produced that you can link for students. If you’re not, search the concept and the appropriate grade level (for example: “middle school cs variables”). As a general rule, I try not to include videos longer than 10 minutes, but there are of course exceptions.
  • Newsela. You can use Newsela to find news articles about a wide variety of topics. Newsela is one of my FAVORITE resources for readings because all of their articles can be adapted for different lexile levels (hooray differentiation!) and many are translatable into Spanish. There’s also the option to include a multiple choice quiz to check reading comprehension.
  • Quizlet, Quizizz, or other quizzing sites you love. I love Quizlet and Quizizz because there are so many existing quizzes created by other educators or students that you can use either as is or with minimal modification. These tools provide students with the opportunity to check their understanding – a key to helping students own their own learning.

So, if you’re keeping track, you should be through the first page of our Digital Lesson Planning template. We’ll pick back up tomorrow for round two! In the meantime, share some of your favorite resources to curate from in the comments.

Published by Jen

A political science major turned computer science teacher, I am passionate about inspiring a love for learning through authentic, real world experiences. I blog about education: ways we can help students succeed, how to innovate within the classroom, and my own quest to never stop learning.

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