Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Lesson Sandwich: The Other Bread

Happy Rainy Wednesday, colleagues!

Image result for dagwood sandwichImage result for elvis peanut butter banana sandwichWhat’s your favorite sandwich? Ham and Swiss? Turkey and cheese? My husband loves an Elvis-style fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. I am a sucker for the Mediterranean sandwich at Panera -- hummus and feta cheese! When my two-year old won’t eat anything else, we can usually get him to down some PB&J.

All good sandwiches have three main parts -- two pieces of bread and the “good stuff” in the middle.

So, here’s your metaphor for the day.
Your lesson is a sandwich. You need two pieces of bread -- the intro and the outro. All the “good stuff” goes in the middle. That’s the bulk of your lesson.

Without that second piece of bread, you have an open-face sandwich.

And open-face sandwiches are a mess. They get all over the place and the “good stuff” so often falls out.

Are you getting my metaphor? Without the second piece of bread (the closure), your lesson can get messy and the “good stuff” (i.e. the learning) can fall out (of the kids’ brains)

Image result for thats all folksSo I admit freely that I am not very strong in the “wrap-up-the-lesson” department. I mean, before I discovered the use of timers in my classes, I used to regularly teach until the bell rang -- no matter WHAT we were in the middle of during our lesson. I would just teach and teach and teach and teach and ... RIIIINNGGGGG!!

Peace out. See you tomorrow.

No closure!

But as I have been more mindful about closing my lessons, I have been starting to really see the value of a lesson wrap-up.

1.    First, it helps the kids to see the bigger picture. Why did we do what we did this period? OH -- because put together, all this lesson stuff adds up to THIS LEARNING!
2.    It also holds students accountable for the lesson. No more “I taught it but I don’t know if they really got it” days. Instead, you should be able to figure out if your kids “got” the lesson -- and if not, where they went wrong.
3.    It helps the kids reflect on their learning.

There are a hundred good ways to wrap up your lesson. Let’s look at two.

Tell Your Mother (or another)
If your mother (or brother or another) asked you what you learned in Social Studies class today, what would you tell them? Take a look at the Learning Target for today and see if you can use that would help you write one sentence.

Learning Target: Hypothesize why the Chavin people built their city the way they did.
Tell your Mother (or another): I think the Chavin people built their city in a confusing way to scare the people into doing what the leaders wanted them to do.

Learning Target: Describe the influence of the abolitionists on America in the 1800s
Tell your Mother (or another): The abolitionists influenced America because lots of people started to think slavery was wrong, based on Abolitionist speeches, writings, and especially  Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Where are we going tomorrow? Have your students predict what tomorrow’s lesson will be about, based on today. Again, have them use the Learning Target as a starting point. Ask the kids to give an example.
Learning Target: Compare direct democracy and representative democracy
Where are we going? I bet tomorrow we’re going to talk about some other kinds of government, maybe the kind with kings.

Learning Target: Summarize the effects of WWI.
Where are we going? I think tomorrow we will talk about what happens to the world after WWI -- and maybe how we got to WWII?

Remember to set a goal of 20% of your class time to wrap up -- maybe 8 minutes in traditional periods or 16 in block periods. and to always refer back to your Learning Target and/or scale.

What’s your favorite kind of sandwich? Are you hungry for a sandwich now? How do you like to wrap up your lesson? Will you try either Tell your Mother (or another) or Where are we going? Let me know how it goes! As always, I love to hear from you!