Monday, September 2, 2013

WBT Book Club Chapter 32: The Eleven Day Writing Lesson Plan

There are several differences between a WBT lesson plan, like the Day One: Sentence Five Step Lesson Plan and one taught in a traditional classroom.  First, many teachers do not introduce their lessons with a question and answer.  Sometimes, the teacher doesn't even tell the students what they are going to be learning.  They just start teaching.   I think it is a great idea to always tell the class what they are going to be learning, and asking a question and supplying the answer is a neat way to introduce lessons.  Gestures are rarely used in a traditional classroom.  The Five Step Sentence Lesson Plan gave a gesture that clearly defined a sentence.  Typically, students would be sitting at their desks trying to focus on the teacher but idle and not participating.  In most cases, a traditional lesson would be a 15-30 minute lecture involving the teacher presenting information about sentences to students.  Occasionally, they might use a textbook, document camera, video, or other handouts to keep students on-task, listening, and engaged.  But again, there is still very little active involvement by the students.  

In comparison, the sentence lesson, like all other WBT lessons, use active involvement with students through a micro-lecture type format.  Students are active participants, often gesturing along with the teacher, during 30-45 second teaching sessions.  Then, unlike traditional lessons, students teach each other what the teacher just taught them.  Everyone is actively participating and not just listening to the teacher talk, talk, talk.  There are many, many examples given, too.  A regular lesson, in many instances, does not provide enough examples nor do they test student comprehension.  After their lecture, teachers hand out a worksheet or assign homework that is used to determine student comprehension.  A graded quiz might even be given at the end of the class.  During a WBT lesson, like the Five Step Sentence Lesson, questions are prepared in advance, and students participate in an evaluation to check for understanding of material.  Yes/No Way involves whole group participation, while Thumbs up/Thumbs down Quick Test (QT) is individualized.  Both of these tests were used in the lesson plan on sentences.  This type of evaluation is fun, active, and non-intimidating.  There are many options for this quick check, but if 90% of students do not master these two evaluations, the material is presented again in a different way.  A traditional classroom has a sink or swim approach.  In many classrooms, if the child does not understand, the teacher may never know, so they go on with class and on to the next topic.  

Finally, a traditional classroom does not always end with a critical thinking activity.  In many cases, worksheets, textbook work, drawings/diagrams, group work, or some other type of seatwork is assigned.  WBT lessons always include some type of critical thinking writing task.  These tasks can be divided into low, middle, and high groups, but often involve comparing and contrasting, writing "because" sentences, and WBT Braintoys.  WBT lessons, like the sentence lesson and the other lessons found in Chapter 32, involve student mastery of the concept and not just presenting information and assigning tasks.  And, unlike traditional lessons, "weave the golden thread of fun" throughout each lesson step!

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