There a lots and lots of online forums, services, etc. that provide teachers with sample lessons. In this article I will use the term lesson to apply to any planned classroom activity.
Some of the lessons are videos of actual lessons being taught to actual students. This makes it appear that you may be able to seamlessly replicate the lesson in your classroom. The problem is very few of the resources are immediately transferrable to your classroom.
Below are three tips to help you get the most out of online videos and resources:
1.Ask yourself, “What knowledge or skills do the children already have that allows them to be successful in the assigned tasks.
Even the most complete, well-developed plan must be customized for your class.Your class is either more advanced or less advanced. Your class may not have the background knowledge necessary to use the lesson. Your class may not have the necessary ancillary skills, i.e., working in groups, collaborating, etc.
2.Do not judge the quality or success of the video lesson by a few highly verbal precocious and/or loquacious children.
While watching the video look closely at the faces of all the children. Which students are “not getting it”? Also, listen for comments (in both background and foreground) from children. Listen for types of misconceptions and feedback given by teachers to mitigate the misunderstandings.
3.Determine what type of “lesson” is represented by the video?
This question goes beyond Procedural Lesson or Declarative Lesson, which is important. You must also identify whether the “lesson” is designed to teach new information (either declarative or procedural) or is the “lesson” designed to practice or apply previously taught skills or concepts. The practice may be of discrete skills or knowledge, or the practice may be more cumulative incorporating many skills or concepts. (See #1)
If the lesson is designed to teach new a skill, identify the steps necessary to utilize the skill that were taught. If no necessary steps were presented and modeled for the children, determine what those steps are and incorporate them into lesson.
The bottom line: Abandon the notion you will be able to use on-line resources or lessons as is. No one knows what your students know or can do besides you.