What is the best way to prepare for teaching a lesson?
This all depends on how much time you have and what resources you have available. For my AP Stats classes at East Kentwood High School, my routine includes reviewing the Stats Medic Answer Key, reading the Stats Medic lesson post, and preparing any materials that might be needed for the lesson. You would think that after 17 years of teaching AP Stats that this process would be unnecessary, but that is far from the truth. Inevitably, there are details and nuances I need to be reminded of that ultimately make the lesson go smoother.
After the lesson, I scribble down ideas on post-it notes and put them in my teaching binder, hoping that my future self will look at these before teaching this lesson next year. It is the moment immediately after teaching the lesson that I am best equipped with the details to teach that lesson to near perfection. And for this school year, I just happen to have a prep period immediately following 2nd hour AP Stats. So, I decided to try to capture all the insider information I had from teaching the lesson in a short video that I can watch next year before I teach this lesson again...Luke's Lesson Notes!
After trying a few different formats, here are the general ideas contained in each one of the sub-5 minute videos:
Materials to Prepare for Teaching this Lesson
This is the list of stuff that needs to be done before class starts. It might be digging through the closet to find dice or an inflatable globe, preparing a poster for a class dotplot, or setting up stations for data collection.
Tips and Tricks for Smooth and Efficient Delivery of the Lesson
There might be an interesting and unique way to introduce the lesson (a story about how my students are all being hired to work for my new business), a trick for efficient data collection (each group should collect 5 samples), or a note about a necessary stopping point in the middle of the activity. These are the details that are easiest to forget when moving from one school year to the next.
Roadblocks for Students and Questions to Move them Forward
Often a lesson has one question that students often get stuck on, where they need some support to move forward. I share the specific wording of questions I use with my students to help them past the roadblock or to help them deepen their conceptual understanding of an idea.
Highlight Important Parts of the Debrief of the Activity
The debrief of the Activity is so critical to the overall success of the lesson. It helps to know which questions are the best entry points into formalizing important takeaways from the activity. It also helps me to know exactly what formal notes I will write in red in the margins. This is also a place where connections can be made to previous learning and we can preview future content.
Notes for the Important Ideas and Check Your Understanding
The Important Ideas is where we concisely summarize the learning from the activity, with direct connection to the Learning Targets for the day. This short list of ideas often looks slightly different than the margin notes we wrote in the margins on the activity. The Check Your Understanding (CYU) can be used in many different ways, and I often comment on how I used the CYU for that particular lesson.
I won't know how helpful these videos will be until next year, but I am hoping that some of you might be able to use them this year. They will be added as they are created. Feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions at email@example.com.