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Ultimately, you will choose the length of the lesson based on what you need to teach. Lessons have their own pace. Lesson plans have different purposes. Most lessons will last for several days, but occasionally you will use a stand-alone lesson. A one day lesson is best used for reteaching or intervention. Once you have taught a lesson, you can go back to the topic as a minilesson with the students who demonstrate on your assessment that they still do not understand. In general, you want to make sure all of your lessons are planned out from introduction to assessment. If you begin with the end in mind and know what your objectives are and how you will assess, you will be more successful.
In my lesson plans, I have each day planned out, but the lessons are planned with the end in mind like a 5-day unit. The lesson one day feeds into the next lesson and we continue to build upon prior knowledge. Each day, I follow the steps of explicit instruction (introduction, presentation, guided practice, independent practice, closure), but we are building on previous lessons. I have an assessment daily, but it may be as simple as using individual white boards to work problems as I monitor. It works well in my class at the elementary level. I plan each day, but I plan it as a whole unit, not just as an isolated lesson.
The benefit of a daily plan, in my experience, is that you can assess a day's teaching. However, as others have warned, without placing daily lessons within the context of a broader set of unit objectives, it's difficult to do anything to introduce anything that requires in-depth coverage.
I agree with the above posters. As a teacher, you should plan from the test or final assessment backward...in other words, know what you want your students to master by the end of the book, unit, etc. Then, plan each day with that goal in mind. What exercises, activities, lessons, formative assessments, discussion questions, projects, etc. will help you help them to learn the skills and knowledge you want them to gain by the unit's end? Good Luck!
One day or five days, I always consider that it's simply a question that one requires more information to cover, and may not necessarily be difficult but time consuming, and more valuable if it is not shortened or minimized due to time restraints.
For example, we sometimes do a unit on "A Wreath For Emmet Till," which is an amazing collection of sonnets written in memory of a fourteen-year old boy murdered in the South in 1955. We do it when we have read To Kill a Mockingbird, and I end up fitting sonnets in as well, as later we cover Shakespeare.
Sonnets are not always easy to understand, so we do them in groups.
First we learn about sonnets in general and read one or two.
(I usually have students write them as well, but simple ones following the Shakespearean pattern, topic of their choice.)
For "Emmet Till," we work through the first two sonnets together as a class, and finish the last two sonnets as a class. There are a total of 15 sonnets in the book.
Students are assigned groups and look for words to define in their sonnet; their group comes up with what they think the "poem" means and we discuss it in class.
Besides having so many sonnets, the mastery of this author blows me away. The last line of the first sonnet is repeated in a similar way as the first line of the next sonnet. This process is repeated throughout the "heroic couplet" of sonnets. For the fifteenth sonnet, a line from each sonnet is present in the last. The first sonnet may have "contributed" line one of sonnet fifteen. The second sonnet provides, say, the second line of the last sonnet. And in all this, the rhyme scheme is followed in that last sonnet, it makes sense, and it is written in iambic pentameter.
Though poetry does not really excite most of the academic groups, the honors kids are little more enthusiastic by the sheer challenge of working in such a concise fashion.
(The last page of the book speaks about Emmet's death, which was terrible, but portrays him as a boy about their age, with interests like their own (i.e., baseball), so that even if they remember little about the poems, they realize why someone would write a tribute to him.)
There is no way we could do this in three days. The summaries of the sonnets are brief. Other groups can comment, ask questions, etc., and we comment on the picture that goes with each sonnet.
If you know your kids and your material, you should be able to plan your lessons out. I'm someone who always wants to build in a little extra time because sometimes conversations arise and I hate to cut them off when they are relevant. And for certain, every class will respond differently and finish in a different amount of time.
(It is tough with a student who is out a day or two, so I usually give him or her a copy of the packet, put him with a group that is ready to present or is almost finished compiling information, and just let him listen.)
So much depends on whether you grab their interest and can mix it up and sustain their engagement over several days. There is "tap dancing" involved (figuratively, of course).
You most definitely have to look at the bigger picture here. It is very important that you also look at the students you are planning on delivering the lesson to. Some students may not be able to handle an intensive 5 day lesson while others may thrive on it. The age of the students should also be taken into consideration.
I agree with the previous post -- you must look at the big picture before you can worry about the day to day lessons. One of the most important questions to ask yourself in unit lesson plans is "What do I want the students to learn and HOW will I KNOW they have learned it?" In a 5 day lesson plan it likely you would be building toward a summative assessment. Your daily lessons can have quick formative checks on student understanding, and then the daily lessons can be adapted to cover more material, or re-cover material that students are having trouble with.
I've learned and been advised that it's best to plan units, rather than plan each lesson in isolation. A unit or mini-unit will allow you to have better control of covering all of those state standards for a particular subject area. It can be much more time efficient to take a particular concept (let's say fractions) and plan multiple (unit) lessons around that concept that build upon each other, rather than planning every lesson relating to fractions in complete isolation.
With multiple day lesson plans, you will certainly need to build upon what was covered the previous day. You certainly wouldn't want to introduce any concepts that are more complex too early in the unit. You would also need to be open to any necessary adjustments depending on the student's responses.
We divide our school day into six periods, 58 minutes for each. There's nothing magical about that amount of time educationally, it simply divides evenly for administration purposes. So it follows that there will always be some lessons that cannot be effectively engineered into one class period. Call the five day lesson plan a mini unit, where you can build in time for class discussion, writing, even short projects.
In my classroom, the main difference between one day plans and the longer ones for five days or longer are the size of the projects involved and the goals for the lessons. In just one day, depending on the level you teach and the time you have the class for, you might need to look closely at just what you can accomplish in an hour if you are at the high school level or most of a day if you are at the elementary level.
With longer lesson plans, it is also easier to add in more flexibility depending on how student interest develops, what sorts of obstacles come up, and whether there are certain parts of a lesson that are going well or not going well.
A one day lesson plan will usually include a specific break down of how the time will be spent (with contingency plans of course) while the five day lesson plan may be slightly less specific regarding exact times with more of an eye towards an overview or again specific goals that need to be accomplished in a certain time period.
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