Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Lesson Checklist

Guest Post by Rushton Hurley
 Keynoter for all EdTechTeam Summits

At the Solano Summit (California) in February, I presented a session called, "Making Your School Something Special." A new buddy from that gathering, Dan Shane of the Hanna Boys Center (http://www.hannacenter.org/), challenged me to take the ideas I was presenting about memorable learning and success, and with them provide a checklist that allows a teacher to think through how a lesson rates on the scale I provided.

Here's the scale we discussed:

* powerfully memorable

* generally effective

* weak, but easy

* waste of time

As I see it, we should aim for pushing all of what we do into the top two categories, with the distinction between the middle two being the operative piece. I wasn't working to come up with STHAA (Something That Has An Acronym), but rather to put something together that allows one to tie one's lessons to the success of the school as a whole.

Below are five ideas. I was tempted to include two negatives, but instead I'll separate them out and start with them as the points of departure:
* The activity/lesson isn't simply a reward for good behavior.

* The activity/lesson doesn't simply require people to listen and take notes.

That established, here's my shot at a checklist:

* The activity/lesson prompts students to grapple with related ideas and find connections to other learning.

* The activity/lesson is more about students figuring something out, and less about applying a formula.

* The activity/lesson allows students to use individual talents and creativity to describe and build on their insights with what is taught.

* The activity/lesson involves a level of learning that both teacher and student would agree has meaningfully advanced the student's understanding.

* The activity/lesson has an outcome that would make for a compelling case as to why parents would choose the school for their children.

What do you think? I'm sure I've left off important thoughts, and would welcome your input on what needs to be added to the list or the points of departure.

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