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Assistive Technology: Writing lesson plans

Writing lesson plans

Many people with dyslexia and dyspraxia describe excellent problem-solving skills which come from holistic thinking and the ability to perceive a situation from multiple perspectives. This has the great advantage of being able to think of numerous approaches to help a student who is struggling with the approach which suits the majority of the class but can cause problems in developing lesson plans when there are so many possible activities to use.

See also Allen et al. (1993) and Martin (1994)

Step 1: Brainstorming

When creating lesson plans you need to keep your destination in mind. Where do you want students to end up? Write this goal as the main topic of your concept map and then brainstorm all the ideas you have for activities to use as stepping stones for your destination and plot these as sub topics for your map.

image showing result of brainstorming

Step 2: Rationalise your Activities

Think of your class, consider the knowledge they already possess and the skills and concepts that they need to meet the main objective. Then read through your activities and rule out those that will not meet their needs. You may wish to use the labelling function to add a label explaining why you have decided not to use the activity.

map after rationalising

Step 3: Sequence your Activities

While sequencing your activities, consider how each one builds off another. Given the knowledge your students already have, will simpler activities work better at the start of the lesson? Will more complicated activities make clearer sense to students after some basic objectives have already been met?

Step 4: Rationalise your Activities Again

Look through your activities again, checking that they meet your objective and keeping in mind the time frame for each activity and the whole lesson.

Step 5: Plan your Transitions

Planning these ahead of time will help you create smoother transitions between activities and create a structured and coherent lesson plan where the students understand the reasons for the change of focus of the class and how it relates to the main objective for the lesson.

Write the transitions in text boxes in your topics, asking yourself about the significance of each activity and why you put them in that particular order. If you cannot answer those questions, you may need to go back to your first plan and consider alternative activities.

Step 6: Plan your Introduction

Introductions give students an indication of where the lesson is headed and connect concepts from earlier classes to the upcoming lesson. Also use them as checkpoints or reminders for yourself and your students - this is where we've been and this is where we're going.

Step 7: Plan your Conclusions

Conclusions reinforce important connections and help students anticipate the goals for the next class.

final image of plan

Step 8: Your final plan

Some trainee teachers like to take teh map into class on their laptop whilst others convert their concept map to a text format.

The following shows a lesson plan designed using the instructions shown above and then changed into text format.

Sample Lesson Plan: Polarity of Magnets

Students will identify and describe the poles of a magnet.

They will demonstrate how the poles interact with one another

Magnet game

Tags: Priority 1

1. Have all the students stand in a circle facing the centre. Explain the rule that if they are facing the same direction they cannot touch each other. If they are facing in the opposite direction than their neighbours, then they need to make a connection and hold hands.

2. Have every other child turn around and face away from the centre. Ask if the students see any connections that can be made. Have every one face the front again.

3. Repeat the above exercise about three times. Each time use a different pattern of selecting children to face away from the centre. (2 in, 1 out) (3 in, 2 out) (etc.). After each selection, ask the students to look for connections that can be made.

4. Have children work in pairs. Assign pairs by telling them to work with the child who sits next to them in classroom. Give each child a magnet and have the pairs “play” with the magnets together. (Refer back to earlier activity) “Think about how your magnet acts with your partner’s magnet.”

A. “Do you notice anything interesting about how the magnets work together?” B. “Do the magnets like each other by going together, or do they act like they don’t want to be together?” “Anyone else notice anything?” C. “Do all of your magnets do that, or do just some of the magnets act that way?”

Introduce the vocab

Tags: Priority 2

1. “Why do you think the magnets are attracted to each other sometimes, and at other times they don’t want to go near each other?” (Listen to ideas from several students)

2. “We have some words that describe how the magnets are acting. You heard me say that the magnets are ATTRACTED to each other. What does it mean for magnets to be attracted to something?” “The opposite of attraction is called REPULSION, and that means that it pushes away.” Show two magnets being attracted to one another. “I can make the same two magnets show repulsion by turning one of them around like this.” “Every magnet has two POLES, a NORTH pole, and a SOUTH pole. The poles are on the ends of the magnets. Earlier, when I had you hold hands if you were facing in opposite directions, you were acting like magnets, and your hands were the poles. When you were the same, you couldn’t touch, and that is what happens with magnets. The poles have to be different for the poles of two magnets to touch. How many have ever heard the phrase OPPOSITES ATTRACT? That’s a very easy way to remember about magnets. The NORTH POLE always wants to be next to the SOUTH POLE because they are opposites.”

Getting magnet through maze

Tags: Priority 3

1. Pass out mazes. “I want each pair of students to think of a way to get one of your magnets to go through the maze by touching only the second magnet. Once the two of you decide on how to get through the maze, I want you to see if your method works. Your magnets cannot touch one another. As soon as you have figured out how to get through the maze, raise your hand, and either Ms. Lewis or myself will come over and you can show us how you did it.” Review the instructions by asking “What do I want you to figure out?” “What are you going to do after you’ve figured out a way to get through the maze?”

2. Once the students raise their hands and show how they get through the maze, ask questions about how they figured out what to do and why it worked. In their explanations, listen to see if they describe how the poles of a magnet work with and against one another.

Estimate number of paperclips

Tags: Question – extension activity if time

Compare the strength of the two poles of a magnet.

“Do you think one part of the magnet is stronger than the other parts of the magnet?” “Which part do you think will be stronger?” Spread paper clips on the table. Place the magnet on top of the paper clips, and then lift. “What parts of the magnet are the paper clips attracted to?” Count how many paper clips are stuck to each pole of the magnet. “Are there different amounts?” “What part of the magnet had fewer paper clips stuck to it?” “Does this tell you anything about the magnet?”

Online magnet game

Tags: No

What objects can be picked up?

Tags: No

Magnet race in groups

Tags: No

Magnets on cars

Tags: No

Magnetise a nail

Tags: No

Homemade compass

Tags: No