Each day teachers must prepare for the curricular lessons using the school district’s adopted text books with curricular maps and grade level content. Most schools focus on integrative lessons that reinforce common core standards while using critical thinking skills and project-based learning. When working with teachers and parents, I have constructed primary grade-level Power Lessons. These Power Lessons include the following:
- Grade-level curriculum that is integrated with language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and performing arts concepts.
- Application of academic concepts that expand beyond a student’s defined grade-level competencies.
- Small groups of students collaboratively working together to create projects and solve problems using critical thinking skills (reference Why School Buses Are Always Yellow? by John Barell)
- Individual student and small group reflection opportunities for students to consider the skills they used for completing projects and solving problems. Reflective questions might include:
- What worked?
- What did not work?
- How could the project or problem be solved differently?
- What else do we need to understand or know to solve the problem?
- Where can we go to get more information about the project?
- How will we apply what we learned to a different set of problems?
- On what can we improve to make the project better?
- How can our new skills be used to make a new product?
When students have the ability to collaborate, apply academic skills, reflect, and try new approaches to problem-solving, their abilities and self-confidence in problem-solving increase beyond required grade-level competences.
Below is a sample Power Lesson using primary grade academic content in language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and performing arts. Added suggestions are included in the lesson to support students’ social-emotional needs and expand beyond primary grade academic subject competencies.
Sample Primary Grade Integrated Subjects’ Lesson Plan
|Primary Grade Language Arts and Performing Arts Lesson Objective:
Students will read a story about twins and draw a picture of the two primary characters (i.e. read Yikes! Brandon Has Twin Sisters). Students will compare the two primary characters’ characteristics. Students will write a paragraph about the twins’ differences with an introductory sentence, supporting facts, and a conclusion. Students will pair and share their stories.
|Primary Grade Mathematics Lesson Objective:
Students will create a chart about twins or friends that they know that are similar. They will then list a comparison of similar and different characteristics and tally the results of the survey. Fractional comparisons can be tallied on the various characteristics that are listed on the chart.
|Primary Grade Social Studies Objective:
The teacher can log onto the Internet and show the students pictures of identical and fraternal twins. Students will learn that there are significantly more twins and multiples being born today. Students can discuss the reasons why and in what parts of the world there are more twins.
|Primary Grade Science Objective:
Students will be given cups of primary colors food colors with droppers. Students will then mix colors and compare results with a partner. Some students will create similar colors and most will create different variations of similar color. The hypothesis and conclusion will be that it is very hard to have the same color results just as it is very difficult to have friends or twins who are completely alike!
Added discussions on siblings who live with twins and multiples can include a focus on the social-emotional needs of identical and fraternal twins, an older or younger sibling’s needs with twins, social-emotional needs of multiples, or several children in a family’s needs. Questions to support this discussion include:
- What does it feel like in your family as the only/older/middle/younger child?
- Do you ever get mad at your brother/sister/siblings?
- How do you settle arguments and conflicts?
- How do you use these skills with your friends at school?
When teachers integrate a Power Lesson beyond reading a book, writing a paragraph, or creating a numerical comparison chart, students are able to more fully comprehend key concepts. They can apply new concepts holistically in the various academic subject areas. For more ideas on how to integrate curricular units into classroom lessons and family home projects, log onto GenParenting.com (see How to Support Your Child’s Academic Learning at Home) and share your successes with us at [email protected]