Yada, Yada, Yada
One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes was "The Yada Yada” episode. The premise of the show was people would be telling a story and leave out the most important parts of the story by inserting the phrase “yada yada yada” instead of the details.
For example, two old friends might meet after not seeing each other for many years. One friend asks the other, “What have you been up to?”
The other responds, “Well, I went to Hawaii on vacation and yada yada yada I just got out of jail.”
Or, he might respond, “Well, I got evicted from my apartment and yada yada yada Bill Gates bought my company.”
The most important parts of the story were left out and replaced with “yada yada yada”.
When I look at many of the “lessons” available on-line as resources for teachers I immediately think “yada yada yada”. The on-line resource might list materials, what technology to use, whether the students are to collaborate, how big the collaborative groups should be, and then yada yada yada this is the assignment. The most important part of the lesson design, that part that tells how the teacher will actually teach the material, is absent.
Many textbooks yada yada yada. The books direct the teacher to do this, ask this, yada, yada yada have the students do these problems. Here is an excerpt from the California ELA/ELD Framework as an example of what this might look like:
For example, a science teacher might single out a particular sentence in the science textbook that is challenging for students but critical for understanding a topic. The teacher could lead a discussion where the class unpacks the academic and informationally dense sentence for its meaning using more everyday language. Figure 2.20 shows what the class discussion might generate from this sentence unpacking activity...
When people ask me what we do at TESS I tell them we work with teachers and administrators to replace the yada yada yada in lessons plans with specific details about the most important components of teaching students a skill or a concept. Once the teachers see and understand how powerful the instruction can be, they never yada yada yada a lesson again.