Standard 4.3, Designing Coherent Instruction in the area of Learning Activities essentially requires the teacher to design lessons that take into consideration the academic levels, and perhaps also the behavioral dispositions, of all students in the classroom, while making appropriations for their specific individual learning needs . I developed a lesson plan that was designed to meet these criteria while engaging students in the subject area of third grade language arts. The lesson plan focused on teaching the main elements of plot in a story as well as how to compare and contrast two stories using a Venn Diagram. To effectively develop the procedural knowledge necessary to use a Venn Diagram a sufficient amount of practice is necessary to develop the skill (Marzano, 2007).
In determining the most effective strategy on how to teach use of the Venn Diagram I decided to split learners into three group categories: high, middle, and low-group learners . As can be seen in Figure 1 my strategy from my lesson plan included differentiating instruction among the three groups. My approach in Figure 1 shows an awareness that there are different learning abilities present in each classroom and that an instructional strategy to meet all learners where they are at academically and behaviorally must be determined. Splitting these students up into high, middle, and low groups allows for the teacher to maximize their time and resources for this instructional activity . It occurred to me that by structuring instruction in this fashion the middle and high-level students would be able to work independently so the teacher is able to focus their efforts on the low-group learners. The teacher intentionally places some of the most responsible “high” learners with “middle” learners that may have more behavior issues or academic struggles that typically draw the attention of the teacher . One of the biggest challenges for a teacher with a high number of low-group students is having adequate time to support the low-group learners without being distracted by questions or behavior issues from the other students. By partnering the most responsible of the high-group students with the middle-group learners that need the most support the teacher is able to maximize their time with the low-group learners . Although the theory behind this approach is logical, as a next step I will need to put this lesson plan into practice so I can actually experience teaching this content and take note of what works best in this lesson plan and what needs to be modified .
Marzano, R. J. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.