The last thing an Elementary Education MAT student does to prepare themselves for student teaching in the spring is to write a lesson plan and teach it in their student teaching classroom in front of a supervisor from Columbia. The lesson topic is typically selected by your cooperating teacher, and the lesson itself is edited by the supervisor who will observe you teaching it. This first supervised lesson is simply a recording of what you say and do and what the students say and do. Literally, that is exactly what the supervisor will be tracking. It’s not a judgement one way or another but rather a sort of transcript to be discussed after the fact so we can gain a clearer picture of exactly what happened during the lesson.
Mine is this week. I’m a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and nervous energy. I hope it goes well. I think it will. I wanted to share pieces of the lesson this week, and next week, I’ll share how it went. My cooperating teacher asked me to prepare a lesson on non-fiction text, specifically on the subject of bats. Here is what I prepared based on those guidelines!
Students will start the lesson at their desks. Teacher will say:
“I was wondering if you could help me with something. I have always been very afraid of bats. One way to get over a fear that I know is to learn more about what you are afraid of. I think if I knew more about bats I might not be scared anymore. Does anybody have any ideas of how we could learn more about bats?”
If it is not suggested, teacher will scaffold the conversation to lead towards reading informational texts by saying:
“I found a non-fiction article about bats that could help us find out more about them. Can someone tell us what the word non-fiction means?”
Teacher will distribute What Do You Know? worksheet and “Bat Man” article to the class. Teacher will say to the whole class:
“When I read non-fiction to learn something new, I like to set a purpose, or a reason, for why I am reading in the first place! The reason I want to read about bats is so I can find out if how I feel about bats, or my opinion that they are scary, is right. My purpose for reading is to find out if bats really are scary. What are some of your opinions of bats?”
Teacher will call on a few students and will write their opinions on the white board. Teacher will say:
“Write your opinion of bats on the worksheet in front of you using the sentence starter, I think bats are…To learn more about bats, we are going to read an article called, Bat Man. First, I will read the statement on the worksheet aloud and then you put an A or a D in the first box to show whether you agree or disagree. This will help us compare what we already know about bats to what we learn from the article.”
Teacher will read through the statements and give wait time for students to complete their anticipation sheet.
Teacher will say:
“Before we start reading, there is one more thing we should do with our non-fiction article that will help us read it. Does anyone know what it is?”
If no student is able to answer, teacher will say:
“We should preview the features of the text. The features will give us clues about what important pieces from the article we should remember about bats.”
Teacher will display the “Bat Man” article using the document camera. Teacher will ask for students to identify the bold or special words, side bars, and any pictures or illustrations they see. Teacher will ask students to check off the boxes on their worksheet as we identify the important features.
Teacher will then read the first part of the text, explicitly redefining the words studying, rescue, injured, and orphaned. Teacher will point to Michigan on the map and ask students how far away it is from Illinois. When teacher gets to the word nocturnal, they will introduce the idea of zooming in on another text.
“Whenever I learn something new, I like to read about it from more than one book so I can find out as much as possible. When you hear me say zoom in, that means I am going to read from a second book to find out more about something we’ve read.”
Teacher will read from the second book. Teacher will say:
“Nocturnal means that bats sleep during the day and are awake to hunt at night. Let’s act this idea out to help us understand it. You are now all nocturnal mammals. When you see me hold up the sun, I want to see you act like you are sleeping at your desk. When you see the moon, I want to see you all become nocturnal bats in your seats, flapping your wings and making high pitched sounds to help you find insects to eat.”
Teacher will play a couple rounds of this game. Teacher will say,:
“Bats already seem less scary to me! Let’s keep reading to find out more about them.”
Teacher will ask for students to volunteer to read the sections aloud. Teacher will zoom in on vampire bats and predators/pollen. Teacher will ask for a volunteer to read the side bar about Madison. Teacher will show echolocation video.
Teacher will ask students to refer back to their What Do You Know? worksheet. Teacher will read statements aloud again and have students put a “Yes” or a “No,” in the “Were You Right?” column. Teacher will then tell the students to pair up with their neighbor to complete the “What Did You Learn?” portion of the anticipation guide. Teacher will ask pairs to think of one question they have about bats and to write it on their worksheet. When pairs are done, teacher will tell them to complete the new sentence starter, “Now that I know about bats, I think they are…”.
Teacher will explain that each small group cluster will do some investigations and become experts about one part of a bat’s life. Teacher will pass out one of the five sets of packets to each group. Teacher will instruct students to read their packets aloud and then for the groups to find three facts about bats from their packet that they think are important to share with the class. One student from the group will read the pages, one student will record the facts, and one or two students will present the facts to the class.
Teacher will say:
“Wow, it was really helpful to learn more about bats with you! After reading the article and hearing some of the facts you found, I don’t feel so scared anymore.”
Teacher will ask the students these questions about the lesson:
• Why do you think it was helpful to talk about what we know before we read the article?
• What are some ways that our opinions change as we learned new information about bats?
You might have noticed that this lesson is laid out a bit differently than how I normally share lesson plans. Because I am teaching this lesson, I wanted to share my teaching guide this time. However, if you’d like to teach this lesson in your own class and would like the standards, essential questions, and assessment info, please email me and I will forward it along to you! Have a great week, and wish me luck in the classroom!
The last thing an Elementary Education MAT student does to prepare themselves for student teaching in the spring is to write a lesson plan and teach it in their student …