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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lesson Plan for Long Evaluation, Part 3

Objective? Check!

Connections to prior learning? Check!

Now it's time to develop the instructional processes for my lesson on the coordinate plane. The lesson must contain a hook and/or introduction, direct instruction, guided practice, and independent practice.

I begin with my original plan of reading A Fly on the Ceiling and having students complete coordinate plane pictures. But these ideas are not enough. I have to build on them to show what I can do. Since the evaluator only sees me teach a few lessons, I must demonstrate as many indicators as possible during the evaluation. Collaboration, differentiation, checks for understanding, and higher order thinking must be included. My lesson will go better if I plan for these in advance. And my evaluator will recognize them more easily if they are spelled out in the lesson plan.

  • Establish background information and hook students by reading A Fly on the Ceiling by Julie Glass. This fanciful story presents the myth of how Rene Descartes created the Cartesian coordinate system (also called the coordinate plane or coordinate grid).
  • Review x- and y-axes. Use arms and fingers to simulate the two axes. (When facing class, right arm goes straight up in the air and hand makes peace sign. Left arm is held out perpendicular to body with fingers crossed. The peace sign is the top part of a "y" while the arm is the stem of that letter. The fingers crossed on the other hand represent "x.")
  • Introduce additional terms: ordered pair, coordinate, and origin.
  • Check for Understanding: Fly Swatter Game (When a definition is called out, students "swat the fly" with their left hands and indicate the answer by holding up the correct number of fingers on their right hands.)

Direct Instruction (Modeling - positive integers only)
  • Demonstrate how to plot an ordered pair on a coordinate plane.
  • Demonstrate how to write an ordered pair for a point on the coordinate plane.
Extension (include negative numbers)*
  • Show Brainpop video entitled "Coordinate Plane."
  • Check for Understanding: Brainpop quiz (oral)
*The extension reviews terminology and provides information that will prepare more able students for today's differentiation piece. When checking for understanding, I do not expect all students to get all answers right. Instead, it will help me determine which concepts need to be reviewed and emphasized in our next two lessons.

Guided Practice
  • Hand out simple coordinate plane mystery message worksheets (created at
  • Have students complete worksheets in pairs. One partner reads the ordered pairs one at a time using the correct terminology, the other plots the points. Switch.
  • Check for Understanding: Ask students to present correctly completed pictures as concept checks before moving on to independent practice.
Independent Practice.
  • Allow students to select coordinate plane picture puzzles (Quadrant I only) and complete.
  • If a student feels ready for a bigger challenge, he/she may complete a simple four-quadrant activity to show readiness then select a four-quadrant coordinate plane picture puzzle to complete.
Wrap Up - Connect to future learning with questions such as these:
  • How do people use coordinate planes in the real world?
  • Can you think of some ways that you might be able to use them in your life?
  • If we can plot coordinates for x and y, what do you think we will do next?
  • Have you ever seen lines that are plotted on coordinate planes? Where?
  • How would graphing an equation help us better understand it?
  • Randomly distribute a variety of simple line drawings (clip art) and graph paper.
  • Explain that each student will create his or her own coordinate plane puzzle.
  • Provide these instructions: (1) trace the line drawing onto the paper, (2) place points at key coordinates, (3) list ordered pairs on the class website for all to try.
  • Give students the option of creating a more elaborate coordinate plane puzzle, if desired. This could mean a more elaborate picture or using all four quadrants.
Extensions (available on class website)
This lesson plan now feels finished to me. Sure, I could add a few more things. But that would probably be overkill. One thing makes me nervous, though. Since I teach high ability students, I'm accustomed to asking higher order questions, and I know when an activity requires higher order thinking. Will my administrator be able to recognize them? I decide to add a graphic showing how the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy are addressed in this lesson.

This lesson plan looks different than those I prepared for last year's evaluation. That's because this one was specially prepared to meet the specific criteria on which I will be judged. It's tempting to say, "I do it every day; they just aren't in my classroom to see it." As true as that may be, I now have the responsibility to demonstrate all (or much) of what I can do during my long evaluation. After all, this is high-stakes assessment. For teachers. And it'll be fun to have the chance to strut my stuff.