What Will They Be Doing?
When planning a lesson, start with the question “What will the students be doing?”
I received this piece of advice as a pre-service teacher and it has stuck with me my entire career.
Before you get too excited, my answer to this question is usually pretty straightforward; most often, it’s “Working on a problem I’ve shared” or “Thinking about a question I’ve asked“. But making this activity explicit in the planning process reminds me to focus on those things that matter most in my lesson: the specific questions I want to ask and the specific problems I want students to engage with.
Asking myself this simple question also helps keep the focus of my planning where it belongs. Instead of starting from “How do I understand this?”, I start from “How will my students come to understand this?” This is a small shift that makes a big difference.