As part of a course for Walden University (Learning Theories Instruction), I need to keep a blog and update it pretty frequently. I have not felt the need to blog before, but I am starting to see the positive aspects of this for my professional life. As per the first assignment, below are three resources that I currently – or in the future will – find helpful in my classroom.
UNDERSTANDING BY DESIGN
One of the major professional development courses I took that had a lasting impact on my instructional design had to do with backwards design – Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (http://www.authenticeducation.org/index.lasso). It is very important to know where you want the students to go with their learning before you begin to create any unit or lesson plans. Without knowing the end result, what will you be teaching? How will you know that the students are successful? These are questions I ask myself when I sit down to make my unit plans.
With the UbD method, you must first decide what are the Big Ideas for your unit – what are the one or two ideas that encompass the ideas of the unit. Next, you find the Enduring Understandings, which should flow down from your big ideas, and the Essential Questions students should be able to answer by the end of your unit. With all of this in place, the assessments are created before even looking at lesson plans or assignments. In this way, all of the plans, lectures, and assignments will be geared toward student success of the unit.
My school has worked diligently over the past five years to re-create our curriculum in this manner. To enable teachers to see and use the curriculum, the Curriculum Committee has created a wiki for our reference (http://www.virtualrvrhs.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Main_Page). We have spent time creating our overall curriculum, assessments, and, in the last year, our unit plans. This has created a consistent curriculum when more than one teacher is responsible for a certain course.
eSchool News (http://www.eschoolnews.com) keeps me up to date on different topics that can help me in my classroom. There are articles about new technology, ways to increase learning, and different web sites that can assist in developing engaging lessons. There is a sign up to receive the digital edition in your mailbox.
INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN BLOGS
As part of my course at Walden University on Learning Theories Instruction, there was one resource that stood out to me, and it was a list of blogs on instructional design (http://en.wordpress.com/tag/instructional-design). In looking over this list of sites, there were many that stood out as helpful. It will take a while to truly investigate the different sites, but I am willing to take the time.