Thursday, July 10, 2008

finished with Egypt, for now

I'm just learning another reason it's good to be a Site Teacher Educator for the University or Utah. (That means I am a teacher who hosts student teachers. ) I am motivated to get tedious but critical work done early, so that I will be prepared to teach the budding teacher. Today I finished my "backward design" unit for Ancient Egypt and it's very good. It not only looks nice, but it also has clear objectives, interesting essential questions, and engaging activities. You see, I've gotta make sure my new student teacher will have a model of what I want him to help me do for our next two social studies units, one on Ancient Greece and one on The Silk Road. And I want to be very clear about what I expect for the units he'll be planning by himself for the three months he's going to be in charge.

Science and social studies are my least favorite subjects to teach, but being well planned does wonders for *my* engagement.

And I really love the backward design curriculum planning model. It helps me think about process and content and "big ideas" all at once. I made a one-page unit planning template that I'm going to use (or have my student teacher use) for most of the science and social studies units for the year.

7 comments:

anne said...

Amy:

I am working with new teachers this summer...will you email me your backwards design template?

The curriculum the city gave me sucks a backwards design. I need something better to give them.

Anne

AMY S. said...

sure. it's on it's way.

teach people not books said...

backwards design basically formed the backbone of my junior and senior internship work. i am so glad that my professors were so adamant, as now i'm confident in my ability to put this model to good use. your unit sounds like lots of fun!

i don't know if you are doing anything with ancient greece, but i'm just finishing up a book called the lightning thief by rick riordan. it's chock full of references to ancient greek culture and religious beliefs. it's about a young boy who is half god... i won't spoil any more it. i'm so excited to share it with my students in september! i will be doing a post on it when i finish...

Staci said...

Are you going to mummify a chicken? I have the instructions for it. I was going to do it but we had to refocus our priorities. I think you should mummify a chicken. It should be really cool.

AMY S. said...

i'm planning to have them mummify apples---in teams of 4---i'm intimidated by the mess and stench of chickens...

AMY S. said...

tpnb: i love the percy jackson series and have read the books along side students for a few years now. my only hesitation in using them as read alouds this upcoming year is that so many of my students have been in my class before and have already read them.

Mrs. V said...

Amy,

I just learned about your blog from the award that you got from The Reading Zone (http://thereadingzone.wordpress.com/2008/07/29/an-award/). Congratulations! I am looking forward to reading more of your back posts because I have really connected to the ones I did read so far. I was planning on using Seedfolks with my sixth graders this fall, so it was good to see your hesitations. I am reconsidering it.

I was wondering if you would be willing to share your ideas for your Egypt unit. It sounds like we have a similar teaching philosophy. This will be my fourth year teaching, but my first year as a sixth grade self-contained teacher. My first year I was a high school ESL/Spanish teacher and the last two years I have been a middle school reading specialist/ESL teacher. I am starting from scratch on most of my units. I have been working on an Egypt unit, but still have a lot more work to do. I would love to see your ideas. Thank you!