Teachers are so busy that they just don't have much time for lesson design and development. They need to throw together a lesson in a few minutes on a Tuesday night that they can use with their students the next day. They need an approach that takes very little time but delivers good results.
To meet this need, I have been working on a kind of Slam Dunk Digital Lesson (SDL) that is quick and easy to build. I call this lesson type, the NoTime SDL.
Good Content plus Tough Questions
Each NoTime SDL combines solid digital content with a number of challenging questions drawn from a source such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). These questions will require that students interpret, infer, analyze, evaluate or synthesize.
For examples of these NAEP items drawn from the 2002 Reading Test, go to the bottom of the page in Chapter Two of the Reading Framework for the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress
"How Is the NAEP Reading Assessment Designed?"
You will find items listed such as the following:
- How does the problem in the story compare with another story you have read? Include evidence from the text and another story.
As NCLB now requires that all states measure a sample of students on these tough NAEP tests and some states have not fared well, the necessity of preparing students to handle tough questions will become clear across the entire United States and other countries where high stakes testing is becoming trendy.
To identify sample questions from subject areas other than reading, take advantage of The NAEP Questions Tool at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/itmrls/. This page "provides easy access to NAEP questions, student responses, and scoring guides that are released to the public."
When building a NoTime SDL, the teacher looks for a "chunk" of digital content that fits comfortably into the lesson flow of a particular unit of study. It may be one of several types of information:
- Visual - A photograph, a painting, an ad, a video clip, a drawing, a map or a chart
- Numerical - A database with information about weather, crime, traffic or some scientific phenomenon
- Text - A news story, editorial, poem, short story, essay or ad
Example One - "Tom and Lilah" - A Visual NoTime SDL
An English teacher who has led her class through the study of several novels touching upon relationships between groups of men and women like Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men or Winton's Dirt Music, may wish to extend and deepen the students' appreciation of those relationships by asking them to interpret the work of an Australian painter, Russell Drysdale, who shows a man and woman standing in front of a dwelling.
The NoTime SDL would be a simple file in MS Word that might look something like this . . .