It felt invigorating taking the time to properly plan a lesson knowing that I was being intentional with the standards. I understood where I was going with the students and why I was teaching what I was teaching. The days go too fast and we are constantly bombarded with things to do that one of the most important things like detailed lesson planning gets put to the sidelines. Using backward design concepts helped me understand the big picture and helped me relate that to my students. I posed the essential questions to students prior and after learning in smart notebook slides. I was able to get a better understanding of the students learning and progress. I was more intentional with my assessments and it made me evaluate what performance skills I’m expecting from the students. I made sure that each lesson was wrapped up with a closure and often times that was a quick reference tool for assessment. In the busyness of the day, I admit anticipatory sets and closures can often be the first thing I let go. Evaluating and planning effective lessons has reminded me of the value to both and now I am much more intentional with the planning and delivery of them both.
Backwards design also made me realize that in the haste of getting through the curriculum I do not spend enough time on all the concepts that I teach. Typically I teach living and nonliving in two days. I had an eight day lesson plan and could have added so much more. I truly want to teach using the backward design philosophy because I want to teach for understanding and deeper meaning. I want to delve into topics and have the time to go where the students want to go. Teaching this way also made me more aware of how the other curriculum throughout the year relates to the topic. I was able to build on prior knowledge and relate the concepts to other areas of study including the life cycle and the study of the four seasons. Obviously the students had more time to explore the topic and there were more opportunities for students to make connections and share what they learned. Learning felt relaxed, fun and rewarding when using the backwards design concepts.