Skip to main content

Behind every good lesson....part 1 - MOTS

Behind every good lesson there's a great plan.  Even if the lesson does not come off well the chances are there were good intentions laid out in the plan.  Of course nowadays with so many technological tools at our disposal lesson plans have changed.  Right?  Wrong!  Technology may play a key part in lessons but does this mean that our focus is on the technology when we come to plan lessons.  Do we start with the tool?  Definitely not.

Think Pedagogy First!
At the forefront of my mind when I plan is my goal for the lesson and what I want the students to achieve.  Of course there is also the bigger picture and the long term goal to consider. How I get my students to think and to engage with the lesson content is really important to me.  How can I stretch and challenge them, how can I ensure that I am meeting all their needs?  How can I ensure that my students make progress - after all, that is the whole point of the lesson.  These are the questions that drive my planning.  It's all about pedagogy.  What tool to use does not even come to mind. 

If, for example, the goal is to learn a new topic area requiring new vocabulary I would start by focusing on these new words.  For this I might use my interactive whiteboard (read more here about my thoughts on this tool).  I know that this would be an engaging way to introduce new vocabulary and I could create whiteboard activities that would ensure that students talk and use this new language.  At the end of the lesson I might decide to test my students new-found knowledge.  Now at this point I would definitely consider a technological tool to help me.  Something like Kahoot! would fit the bill perfectly.  Engaging and set up so that you can design your test just as you want it, this tool allows you to test your students knowledge with a variety of quizzes.  The real benefit is being able to get feedback on their progress.  In a lesson where I am revisiting content I might use a Kahoot quiz at the start of the lesson, work on the content during the lesson itself and then replay the Kahoot at the end using the excellent new 'ghost' feature where  students play against each other and their own previous score.  This allows students to understand their own progress and allows me to plan my next steps with the students exact needs in mind. 

To ensure that my students have built a solid vocabulary base on which to build, my planning would clearly provide for drill and skill exercises (MOTS - More of The Same).  I am not adverse to setting lots of these types of activities.  In my mind it is not possible to proceed to HOTs (Higher Order Thinking Skills) until the foundation is there.  As well as traditional matching exercises and active learning activities I would also consider a number of technological tools.

Quizlet is a tool that comes to mind, with exercises such as these which provide students with the opportunity to learn vocabulary or key content whilst playing a variety of games and furnishing students with key information about their progress.  Taskmagic also fits the bill very well.   For the first fourteen years of my teaching career somehow I managed without this tool.  Practice exercises have become much more engaging with the introduction to my lessons of this excellent web-based tool.  How did I manage before?  The beauty of both these tools is that I can set the content and make it totally pertinent to my students' needs.
And so, finally,  on to HOTs.  Putting new found knowledge into practice.  Creating something different with this new content.  There are many tools to consider at this stage of learning and I look forward to sharing my ideas on this in my next post.
In the meantime let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.

Popular posts from this blog

Does education really need technology?

There may be many with a view on what makes for a good lesson.  Most would not argue with the ideas clearly expounded upon by Hattie and Yates (1) that a good lesson starts with an initial review of knowledge, moves on to a formal presentation, guided practice, initial feedback, independent practice and a follow-up review.  In terms of my own practice this is a model that I follow.  Not via any particular tools because I know that my target audience need variety and must not settle into any type of formulaic process.  Thus, I follow the steps but use different methods. Far be it for me to claim that this effective lesson cannot be achieved without technology.  Having started my teaching career over 20 years ago I know that it is possible to be an effective practitioner and deliver a lesson where progress is made using old-fashioned methods that may well have included some worksheets created on the trusty (rusty?) Banda machine.  Nor am I here to advocate that this process is more effe…

iDoceo - marking in the 21st century

The very title of this blog may lead you to believe that I am an out and out technophile.  To a certain extent, this is true; I love to make the most of technology in my classroom and redefine what I am able to do with my students.  Increasingly, I explore technology options for managing my own day to day planning.  I can see and understand the benefits of google drive and documents for me when communicating and collaborating with colleagues and friends.  A shared document is easy to work on and I appreciate the way I can link in photos and so on.  This being the case when I was introduced to iDoceo I could see so much potential.  It was clear to me that I could do away with my traditional mark book and use this new option.
Firstly, I was easily able to import the class spreadsheet from our school information system along with all sorts of details that I wanted to use. 
Once my mark book was in place it did not take me long to sort out my calendar linking it to my school outlook calen…

Edmodo - a platform for telecollaboration

I have got into +Edmodo in a big way recently.  I have been exploring the possibilities of running a telecollaborative*  project and @edmodo seemed like a good place to start the process of learning how to get students from different countries to talk to each other.  However, before I got going on my exciting collaborative project I wanted to get to grips properly with Edmodo.  Last year I had used this tool to set quizzes for different classes which could then be graded and results stored in the system.  I was also able to award badges.   This all worked quite well but I was not enamoured with the results and I knew that I could exploit this tool more effectively.
So, in order to delve deeper and scratch below the surface of what edmodo can do I focused on the collaborative aspect of Edmodo.  I had noticed the ease with which students communicated with each other via the forum.  So, with this in mind and with a view to organising a telecollaborative project with a school abroad, I s…