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  Lesson plans, guides and pedagogy

Image: teacher at boardThere are sometimes reservations in recommending sites providing lesson plans, and care has been taken to choose those sites which offer more than just the lesson plans themselves e.g. context, actual resources used, pedagogy, case studies, and exemplars. The main difficulty is the match between originator’s circumstances and those of the would-be user. Class age, ability, time allocation and resources and facilities are all likely to differ, even before considering any teacher differences. Nevertheless these difficulties are not as crucial as the issue of ownership.

Where a resource has been successful, perhaps illustrated by glowing references or positive feedback from other staff or students, it is inevitable that it will derive at least in part from ownership. The owner/creator has or had the ultimate insights into the design, purpose and delivery and is likely to have had considerable enthusiasm to ensure success. In order therefore to make good use of openly shared resources, the ownership issue has to be tackled. This requires planning, and rehearsal of the sort of thinking that went into the resource originally. The benefits of this stage are the opportunities to fine tune or indeed radically adapt the plan and any resources for your particular purposes and to produce a final “derivation” which you do “own”. Given this view, links which might reflect e.g. the U.S. or Australian curriculum and standards, and may not be precisely designed for your age range, are still included. It is felt that enough scope exists for tailoring the essence of the lesson/activity for it to remain worthwhile and more efficient than starting from nothing.

The key aspect to preserve, or indeed to help make the choice in the first place is an empathy with the pedagogy. Thus if you are keen to try a Socratic questioning approach then that is more important than the topic or age range in an illustration, either of which can be adjusted for.

Image: teacher and writing studentMany of the links provide considerable pedagogic background to the illustrated lessons or activities and reading these is likely to give teachers inspiration and confidence to try them in their own, not necessarily related contexts. This is practical professional development and when the ensuing lesson or activity is based on the pedagogic elements or the learning theory behind the illustrations, then it is likely to be successful and of a high quality. In this respect, many of the links offer productive reading even if you are not seeking, or going to use, a particular resource.

Whilst aspects of pedagogy are clearly presented in the links as teacher support, they are, within the context of higher order thinking, and metacognition, equally valuable to students. Indeed, for a confident teacher, getting students to present a lesson, including the planning, determining of objectives, devising of activities and questions can be an excellent opportunity to assess their understanding, and develop their communication and other skills and can be linked to collaborative and cooperative learning.
  NOAA – Climate change and our planet – major collection of resources inc lesson plans and data
Climate Change Education – lesson plans and general resources
Activities and lesson plans includes cooperative learning (PDF)
Gulf Coast based activities with a focus on higher order thinking, concept mapping and dispelling misconceptions (constructivist) (PDF)
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program includes lesson plans and activities - focus on critical thinking and use of real data
DfES/BC - Global Gateway: lesson plans, activities, international partnering, resources
Up to date resource with search, includes lesson objectives and political aspects
Met office resources for secondary – lesson plans and activities
Windows to the Universe – lesson plans and activities (14-19)
Carleton College – “Starting Point”- Teaching With Models

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