Lesson Planning with a lens on LITERACY
by Rashieda D. Addison-Gantt, Adjunct Faculty
One of the key design considerations of the Common Core State Standards is to foster a “shared responsibility in students’ literacy development.” If we can all agree that literacy entails proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening, then it is reasonable to assume that these standards are integral to instruction in all content. The ultimate goal of the Common Core State Standards is to dismantle the data that speaks to students NOT being adequately prepared for college and careers upon exiting high school. It’s no secret that the number of students taking remedial courses is at an all time high.
As secondary schools consider this data and begin backtracking the conclusions drawn, the trail of breadcrumbs usually leads to the beginning. It would be professionally gratifying to pontificate on the impact of “home life, self-efficacy, economics and even scheduling” on student achievement as starting points however; most are uncontrollable factors for classroom instruction. Instead, a secondary beginning of greater concern is the lack of lesson planning with literacy in mind.
Planning the THINKING!
Literacy instruction requires thoughtful and through planning inclusive of model thinking aloud for cognitive demand and a clear criteria for success to check for understanding. The thinking that is required for reading, writing, speaking and listening demands a written plan of the type of thinking, the why of the thinking, the what of the text (both print and non-print) supports the thinking and eventually how it (the thinking i.e. typically analysis) leads to the writing, speaking and listening. Lesson plans of this nature are deliberate, learner centered and fail safe for critical thinking.
Gauging the THINKING!
Criteria for Success is a check for understanding when engaging students in metacognitive tasks. After the teacher has shared their thinking, possibly an analysis of sorts, criteria for success serve as a safety net for learner miscues. Requiring students to explain what they saw and heard the teacher say/do while modeling an analysis of the text and simultaneously securing that feedback on an anchor chart supports students in their independent practice. It’s a fact that students cannot read their teacher’s minds, but teachers can definitely share how their minds read and think!