Instructional Plan Design Analysis

EDU 645: Learning & Assessment for the 21st Century

When it comes to creating high-quality instructional lesson plans, it is imperative that as an instructor, we make sure that we are clear and concise in what we want from our students. A part of that is the creation and implementation of procedures that are both orderly and realistic in terms of what we expect our students to achieve. In taking these steps, we begin to cater the instruction of our students in such a fashion that students are compelled to succeed no matter what the material is and what obstacles might be in their way.

Teaching for success comes with the caveat that there are certain goals that must be met by each instructor: there must be instruction with a clear end goal in sight. Students must have clear objectives and be encouraged to succeed with plans that include materials essential for students to do well in addition to being provided with the supplies and resources to complete those tasks and apply the things they have learned in a realistic, timely manner. (Gall & Lohr, 2005) The foundation of meeting these goals are contingent on creating strong, high-quality lesson plans. For instructors, we have a plethora of options available to create these plans and in this text, we will review plans that fall under the umbrella of: Common Core Aligned Instruction, Understanding by Design-Backwards Designed lessons, and Madeline Hunter’s Instructional formats.

When looking at the Common Core Aligned Lesson Plan (CCALP), we can see that the plan is broken down into certain lesson elements and then alongside it, student-friendly translations of those elements can be placed. The plan requires first for the educator to address what Common Core Learning Standard will be addressed. Beyond that, instructors must explain what Learning Target(s) will be achieved by the lesson and in what way they are relevant to the real world through the Relevance/Rationale. From there, assessments are required that will challenge if the students have successfully achieved a desirable outcome and what activities and tasks, in addition to assessments will be completed and what materials they will be completed with. These items are included in other lesson plans, in some cases with different labels. The CCALP is simple, though contains components that are unique to the Common Core State Standards. Part of determining if a CCSS lesson plan is effective involve understanding “how to implement the three most critical instructional strategies: conversation, multiple texts, and responding to reading through writing.” (Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services, 2017)

The CCALP lacks several elements that could be considered essential to a strong lesson plan in terms of explaining and/or showing information concerning the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model. Assessments in this lesson plan appear to be heavily guided by the instructor and less about the independent learning of the student, despite the way the CCALP seeks real world application through instruction. It is effective to the extent that it follows the CCSS, but not for other forms of standards that might be ascribed to.

Where the CCALP adheres strictly to the CCSS, the Understanding by Design – Backwards Design Lesson Template (UBD) follows a similar guideline but for different reasons. Instructors that utilize UBD must include what state standard a plan follows, but also what ISTE-S standard is also followed. There is a requirement to elaborate on what established goals must be met, in addition to what learning objectives will be achieved. Where this lesson plan deviates from CCALP is that educators must break the lesson down into the following: Understanding, Essential Questions, Knowledge, and Skills. This is part of a method that includes “Students will understand that… Students will know… and Students will be able to.” This particular template aims for teachers to distinguish first, the desired results but to also include the role a teacher will play and what knowledge and skills will be applied. (McTighe & Wiggins, 2002) The UBD template is removed of what activities the students will be doing to reach the objectives but goes into greater detail of what is anticipated to occur and what is involved in a series of continuous improvements to the approach of lesson design, implementation, and learning. This lesson plan, unlike the CCALP, includes a flexibility for student and instructor to communicate in real-time and engage meaningfully without strict limitations on activities. Assessment is also handled differently than the CCALP in the sense that it wants instructors to explain how the students will implement what they have learned from the lesson, but not adhering to only real-world application.

Finally, there is the Madeline Hunter Instructional Plan (MHIP), which is similar in structure to the UBD and the CCALP in that it must address the Grade Level Content Standards through completed verbiage. However, it shifts into the Lesson Objective outright, but written in student terms. The MHIP chooses to consider a number of levels of cognition, including but not limited to: Bloom’s and Webb’s DOK. The entirety of the MHIP’s lesson objective is to be written in ways that the student can understand the material. Following that is the Anticipatory Set, much like the UBD. Where the MHIP diverges from the path of the other templates is in the area Lesson Sequence & Duration and Gradual Release of Responsibility. This area requests that instructors include ‘Instructional Input’ also known as “I Do.” This includes information on how students will achieve objectives and how they will receive this information and what will be done to instruct them accordingly. This also comes with the caveat that teachers will engage in “modeling” behaviors that encourage students to be involved with examples the instructor will show and what essentials will be focused on.

The MHIP is a strong template because it wants the educators to demonstrate content (which allows for a greater level of accountability and realism in assignments, because it must be something an instructor can do themselves). This is also an interactive lesson plan because of the modeling portion included with the guided and independent practices. Assessments are based on ability to check for understanding and on-the-spot guidance. This works in tandem with students and educators working together in questioning strategies and receiving real-time feedback so instructors know if the lesson is going in the right direction and students are actually learning the material.

These instructional plans all have facets that make them viable for use in the classroom and assist in the learning efforts of students. Each include elements that would be beneficial in the classroom and would assist the educator in completing the objectives they have set for a lesson. Of the three templates reviewed, I am inclined to fall in line with the Madeline Hunter Instructional Plan. As a visual learner, I really respond as a student to my teachers being able to show me what the assignments are and working with me in a way that I can see what is happening to clear confusion. As an instructor, I love the idea that I would be able to engage my students and guide them, but allow them the ability to function independently so that they are the masters of their learning destinies. There are strengths in CCALP and UBD plans, and if I were to create a plan for my classroom, I would likely chose the MHIP with elements of UBD to clearly define the desired outcomes and the activity outlining included in the CCALP to create the most well rounded lesson plan possible.

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