This is the format of most lessons in my classroom:
1. Students get their homework out from the night before. The students have assigned seats and they change periodically so that they are sitting somewhere that promotes their learning free from as many distractions and negative influences as possible. This includes having friends that distract each other sitting away from each other, while friends that learn well together are assigned seats next to each other.
2. “What questions did you have on the homework?” I go over the most difficult problems from the night before, taking care to reteach concepts consistent with the previous lesson as well as scaffolding/laying the foundation for the new material to be covered today. Repetition is key and I make an intentional effort to repeat the exact sentences I used the first time I taught the topic.
3. “Turn in homework on the side counter.” I make signs using a small whiteboards indicating which assignments I am currently collecting.
4. “Notes!” I rarely give handouts. The students are expected to have notebook paper and take notes according to my words and anything I write on the smartboard.
(I am old-school. I love using just the whiteboard and black dry erase markers, but smartboards have the advantage of saving what I have written and uploading it to my website. I am sure that there are more features of the smartboard that I should integrate into my instruction. One day at a time.)
Lesson Objectives: The first thing that I have the students copy down is always the lesson objectives. I write an observable lesson objective for every skill/concept in the lesson. I never have only objective. I split the lesson into each objective with each one building on the last.
5. “I am done teaching you. Let’s see if you learned anything.” There is always some sort of formative assessment in my lesson. This is the part of the class where the students practice what they have been taught. This is often times a selection of problems from the textbook. Sometimes I have a worksheet or I simply put problems on the smartboard. While students do these problems they may seek help from their immediate neighbor, however their primary help is myself, always circling the classroom. As students finish the formative assessment they raise their hand so that I can confirm that they are learning. Finished students may start tonight’s homework at this time.
6. “What have we learned?” I believe strongly in the power of repetition and I will verbally close the lesson with a recap, almost verbatim, of the material covered.