4.4 Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Lesson and Unit Structure. This standard serves as a summation of The Art and Science of Teaching by Marzano. I also feel as though I personally gained the most comprehension on this standard throughout our General Inquiry class with Kirsten Koetje. It encompasses using pre-assessment of your students’ prior knowledge, deciding what the central focus of a unit should be, followed by learning targets, all in order to plan a lesson that is aligned with the the chosen assessment. There are recommended steps to follow in order to be sure you cover all of the necessary material in the amount of time allotted for the unit. Kirsten Koetje’s General Inquiry Class showed an example of structuring a unit in the form of a video slide presentation.
After analyzing the standards and common core requirements for her imaginary health class, she came up with the central focus, or unit. It was entitled “The role of drugs and alcohol on society and the individual.” Following the central focus, there was an essential question posed, which could potentially serve as a hook to engage the students.
Beginning with the end in mind requires a teacher to examine the evidence they are hoping to produce in order to prove the learning that took place. In Kirsten’s example, the students were to give a presentation to the health department, citing evidence and explaining the need and benefit of their public service announcement.
Listing what the students need to know, and continually referring to it in order to cover all the material seemed to be an effective strategy. The most satisfying part of this standard is that it is systemized and organized, almost like completing a recreational puzzle! Just like students, teachers can be more effective when they know what is expected of them and have a structure by which to refer. Creating an outline for the multiple-week unit that identifies activities for each day provides that framework, while allowing room for flexibility when necessary.
My primary takeaway about designing coherent instruction from The Art and Science of Teaching is that self-reflection is essential. There are a multitude of design questions that a teacher must reflect upon prior to executing a successful unit. Some examples include what routine lesson components will be incorporated, planning for content-specific lesson segments, and plans for action that must be taken on the spot. If significant energy is spent planning a lesson, there is more opportunity to anticipate students’ misconceptions and focus predominantly on learning as opposed to management. Post reflection would also deem highly beneficial for future planning.
Koetje, Kirsten (2015). Situating lessons within a unit (Example: Health unit on drugs and alcohol) [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from https://spu.techsmithrelay.com/Np57
Marzano, Robert J. (2007). The Art and Science of Teaching. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).