Why Use Lesson Ideas?
Lesson Ideas provide an extremely flexible and convenient way to prioritize lessons for a variety of reasons. Each classroom can utilize them in the way that best suits the management style of that environment. Here are the two most common ways these Ideas can be used.
There are a couple of variations in using Lesson Ideas as a pre-planning tool. A teacher could use them to create organic individualized short-term goals for her students by marking Ideas inspired by the work she is recording for each child daily/weekly. In this way, the Ideas will provide an ongoing list of lessons for which each student may be ready, according to his/her unique skill levels and interests in the classroom.
Alternatively, a teacher could use Lesson Ideas to lay out a broader set of goals to be achieved over a longer period of time. For example, by the end of the first school term, she may want all her 1st year students to accomplish XYZ, and her 2nd year students to accomplish ABC, etc. This could be viewed as somewhat of a roadmap or syllabus for the period of time determined, great for those teachers striving to ensure certain state-level requirements or grade-level expectations are met (or anyone else who may benefit from a bigger-picture overview of the term or school year ahead).
Independent Work Options
A different way of looking at the Lesson Ideas feature is as a tool to guide the repetition of work until mastery is achieved. A common scenario in a classroom is when a child may be struggling to choose the work he/she wants to do. The Lead Teacher may be involved in a presentation at the moment, but the Assistant (or even a substitute) may not know what work the child has had a lesson on, and often ends up interrupting the teacher's presentation to ask, "What can she do?" The teacher then lists off 2-3 choices of recently presented work that the child can choose from to practice independently. But now, the presentation she was just giving has lost momentum due to the interruption. Sound familiar? If this scenario is common in your classroom, you may consider using Lesson Ideas as a way to communicate possibilities for each student's independent work choices. Then, when your Assistant needs guidance in redirecting an unfocused child, she can simply reference that student's Lesson Ideas list to offer a couple of suggestions.
Each classroom can choose which method best suits the needs of their environment, as every teacher's classroom management style is different. But whether you decide to use them as a planning tool or a guide for independent work, Lesson Ideas are a great way to prioritize your goals for each of your students.