Lesson Plan Deconstruction Protocol

Analyze a Real-World, Interdisciplinary Lesson

Puzzle pieces (esenkartal/istockphoto)

What does a real-world, interdisciplinary curriculum look like? How does it build student global competence? And how does a learning community start to develop lessons that build the knowledge and skills needed in the new global age?

The following protocol uses a model lesson from the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) as a discussion piece for educators to come together to deconstruct the lesson as a way to analyze its components—and to gain a critical understanding of how to construct a similar lesson plan that will match their own educational objectives.

CARLA developed a third grade model curriculum that links reading (bilingually, in English and Chinese), science, engineering (math), and social studies learning objectives. Students read a storybook in Chinese as a way to explore permeable membranes, bioengieering, as well as diverse organisms and their ecosystems. The thirteen-part lesson includes assessments that are integrated across Chinese, science, math, and social studies.

Prior to the exercise, ask participants to read through, as much as possible this lesson. (Enlist the help of a Chinese language teacher—if you have one—to translate the big ideas written in Chinese that drive the lesson.)

Participants should be a diverse group of educators, including those who teach different grades and subjects; resource librarians; curriculum planners; afterschool trainers; and others who regularly work with the study body.

In this case, the lesson focuses on language and science at the elementary school level, but the ideas that drive it could be applied widely.

Give participants 30 minutes to read the Integrated Performance Design document and to think about the lesson as a whole. Working together or in small groups, educators should not rely on the author’s outline, but rather speak from their own perspective as science, literacy, foreign language, resource, etc. educators.

Use a note-taking or charting program, record the main ideas that result in discussing the following questions:

  1. What are some ways you would describe this lesson?
  2. What are some of the skills that it could build?
  3. How are the purpose statements connecte—or not connected—to academic disciplines?
  4. In what ways do this lesson promote students investigating the world?
  5. How does this lesson teach perspective building?
  6. In what ways do students need to communicate ideas in order to complete this lesson successfully?
  7. And how does this lesson compel students to take action?
  8. What steps do you think the educators took to construct this lesson?
  9. How would you/a teacher assess students’ proficiency level in order to choose target vocabulary and grammar phrases?
  10. What instructional strategies have you used? What instructional strategies are new to you?
  11. How is this lesson collaborative, from a teaching perspective? How is this lesson collaborative, from a learning perspective?
  12. What are other ideas to extend this lesson?

During the debrief, discuss the following:

  1. Of the qualities recorded from the discussion, which ones do you most value?
  2. What are some qualities that are currently not in play in your educational community that you would like to adopt?
  3. What are the next steps to build a global, interdisciplinary unit in your own learning community?

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