I am not one to plan my entire curriculum, lesson by lesson, before the beginning of the school year. Obviously, after teaching it once or a few times, that happens to some extent, but what comes from that once or a few times in terms of lessons, I’m not married to. I’m more than willing to change and adapt for the new class and new school year. However, this year I want to have a clear goal in mind at least for the end of the first marking period. I know where I want to end up for the year, as seen in my previous post, but that feels SO far away on Sept. 2nd. Also, if I’m honest, it’s pretty easy to get lost and circle back a few times along the way if I’m not careful (though sometimes getting lost and circling back in teaching is good and necessary for the kids). But I don’t want to do that because of lack of planning or lack of a goal. Instead, I want to make benchmarks, just like I do for my students, of where I want to be by the end of the first marking period.
However, instead of making it a “how far I need to be in the curriculum or the readings” type goal, I want to make it skill specific (and then by proxy, content specific). So, regardless of the level, I would like my 11th grade students to know and understand the following by the end of the first marking period:
1. Students will understand the origin of the term “American Dream” and how it has changed over time, including what elements of the country and history and world impact that definition and our access to it, as citizens.
2. Students will have a firm understanding of theme, will be able to track it over the course of a novel, and begin to comment on its effectiveness and meaning beyond a text.
3. Students will be able to identify basic structures of grammar and conventions (tenses, parts of speech, types of sentences) and apply that knowledge to preliminary understanding of commas and semi-colon.
4. Students will be able to develop a complex thesis statement, outside of the “listing what they will talk about later” style, and choose appropriate sources as evidence to support their reasoning.
What about you? Where do you want your students to be by the end of the first marking period?