There are many standards that students must meet to move through school successfully. Time is limited and needs to be utilized in the most efficient way possible in order to accomplish these standards. Planning and organization units and lessons are key to an efficient use of time that will contribute to students' success in the classroom.

The first thing I do when planning a unit is to consult the Virginia Standards of Learning. The Curriculum Framework provides a breakdown of the
objective, an overview, background information about the objective for the instructor's use, and Essential Knowledge, Skills, and Processes that provide a detailed look at what the students are expected to know. When all of the standards are "unpacked" and understood, it is easier to extend them past the required knowledge.

As I became more comfortable with the material and expectations in my first grade placement, I started making a less detailed plan that I could quickly reference while I taught. Below is an example of how my plans were simplified as my student teaching experience progressed and I became more comfortable.


Below you will find more detailed lesson plans that I created during my coursework and student teaching experience.

Science

One of my favorite units to plan was the matter unit. I used the Science Virginia Standard of Learning 1.3 to plan this two week unit. I first consulted the Curriculum Framework to determine what I needed to include. I used the Essential Knowledge, Skills, and Processes section of the framework and my knowledge of the six levels of thinking from Bloom's Taxonomy to create a Table of Specifications.

This table helped me determine how much emphasis should be placed on each part of the standard. By using my Table of Specifications I was able to develop a two week unit that included all of the "essential knowledge" and even extensions to the standard that really engaged the students. This lesson on gases is a good example of how I try to cater to a divers range of students and their different learning styles. To reach as many students as possible I used visual, auditory, olfactory, and kinesthetic experiences.


Math

The local, district standards that my student teaching school followed require a benchmark assessment at the end of certain math units. Along with the Virginia Standards of Learning, I found it helpful to use the local benchmarks as a basis to plan certain units. One of those units was Telling Time and I based my unit on a combination of local and state standards. Below is my introduction lesson to telling time to the hour and the half-hour.


Language Arts

Language Arts is a great discipline to incorporate extended learning. The state standards can be easily extended or incorporated into other disciplines for interdisciplinary learning. As I started familiarizing myself with the English Virginia Standards of Learning I realized that each Language Arts lesson should incorporate multiple standards. It is best to either pick one standard that will be emphasized with other standards supporting it, or to choose a topic that will extend student learning while being supported by English standards.

In this lesson, I chose to use the theme of the spring season in a unit on writing. Describing spring is not in any of the standards, but I was able to incorporate the standards around the theme of spring. The students had previously brainstormed ideas about how we can describe spring and what their favorite parts of spring are. This helped them expand their vocabulary of adjectives. I had them create their writing and share it with their peers to touch on English SOLs 1.12 and 1.13.


Social Studies

As a part of my American Symbols unit that I developed in my Social Studies content course, I wrote a lesson on George Washington Carver to align with Virginia Social Studies Standards of Learning 1.3.. I was able to use technology in this lesson with a BrainPop, Jr. video and online quiz game that engaged the students with a different type of media than we normally use and helped them learn at the same time.