Mar 16

Reflections on my first New American Lecture lesson

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I am currently working on my gifted endorsement. I am also teaching three sixth grade gifted science classes this year. It is my first time teaching gifted science. As part of my endorsement class, we are writing a unit using several different lesson styles. The lessons are based around the information in the book The Strategic Teacher. I am enjoying so much what I am learning in these classes. It is more information than I ever learned in any of my educator preparation course. Plus, I am sure these strategies would work well with all students – not just gifted students.

I have been writing my unit on the theme of exploration based around the concepts I am teaching about the solar system. My first lesson in the unit is a New American Lecture format. My essential question for the lesson is

How has mankind’s need to explore led to our current view of the solar system?

In the New American Lecture format, the lesson is based around a slideshow and graphic organizer. Students fill in the graphic organizer with information from the PowerPoint. However, about every 10-15 minutes you stop to reflect on what has been discussed with focused questions. For each reflection point, I wrote four questions – one in each of the learning styles (mastery, understanding, interpersonal, and self-expressive). At these points, I gave my students an opportunity to first write down an answer, than share with a partner, and finally we shared as a class.

Yesterday, in one of my classes the bell rang – and we were all surprised class was already over! I could tell the students really liked this slightly different format to the class. Today went just as well, and I am looking forward to the final synthesis products (an illustrated timeline of historical developments in our view of the solar system) that will be turned in tomorrow.

And tomorrow, we start our next lesson strategy: Jigsaw! Stay tuned.

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