21st Century Lesson Plan

Reflection and Purpose for Decisions Made

Determining the main idea and supporting details in text is a lesson that proves its validity for a life long learner. You use this skill in elementary, middle, and high school, through college, and even upon discussing nightly readings with MSU, MAET. Locating the main idea develops critical thinking, a 21st century skill necessary for determining importance in multiple contexts. This is a teaching point that is visited several times during a 4th grader’s experience at ASFM, and one that is in good shape in terms of content and pedagogy, but has the opportunity for improvement with a technological tool. 

Interacting with the “goal” (teaching point), through documentation, and reflecting on current  knowledge, exercises metacognitive skills, and provides students with a starting point for what they are about to learn (Donovan, S., Bransford, J., & Pellegrino, J., 2000, p. 67, Pollock, 2007).

Accessing prior knowledge, by displaying the image of the Popplet mindmap, and providing students with a question to consider together, holds multiple pedagogical strategies. First, the image displayed contains content every student will feel comfortable and knowledgeable about- it was a class read aloud. Every student can connect to the content this way. By linking this pre-existing understanding of knowledge with asking a question about something new, students will begin to transfer their understanding to a new context (Donovan et al., 2000). Secondly, by permitting students to have a chance to talk with a partner, they have the opportunity to build upon each other’s ideas and moving collectively toward the goal (Donovan et al., 2000). Thirdly, as the teacher is circulating during this time, there is the opportunity to catch misconceptions students may have and guide them toward the learning goal.

The actual instruction also contains a variety of pedagogical strategies. Modeling the use of the technology tool, Popplet, to create an advance organizer is one. The teacher is also summarizing the article, and taking notes which is another high yielding strategy. While it appears as though the teacher may be lecturing, it is kept to only 5-7 minutes, and also provides students with a visual image which connects with both linguistic and visual learners. 

Next, students have the opportunity to apply and practice this new knowledge collaboratively with a partner, where once again, they build upon ideas together and move toward a common goal. They are generating a hypothesis as to what they feel the main idea is, and are providing support for that idea. During the share, and by projecting these mind maps for everyone to see, students will be receiving immediate feedback from classmates and the teacher. While other images are being displayed, students will also be practicing metacognition, as they compare their ideas with other students.

During the last stage of the lesson, the generalization, many pedagogical strategies are being utilized. By asking, where else the main idea and supporting details may be used in life, students are sharing ideas for transferring their knowledge to new scenarios, (Donovan et al., 2000) informally “testing” students of their mastery of this teaching point. By revisiting the goal and reflecting on their current understanding, students are again practicing metagocnition and providing themselves with feedback about the learning experience. Students who score themselves lower on the scale may receive more individual attention from the teacher, and be aware that this skill is something they need to work on. Students scoring higher, may be asked for advice or guidance from  students in need of some extra support.

The classwork and/or homework along with the technology tools, Popplet and Edmodo, were used intentionally. The pairing of the two tools allows for student work to be created and shared in a centralized location, permitting students to view each other’s work, and provide feedback to one another. With these tools, student work is also shared publicly, where the ideas and work are accessible to students at any time. By creating the advance organizer independently with Popplet, students also have the opportunity to be creative with their creation, as opposed to being provided with a more confining template. Assessing student progress with this skill, will inform the teacher of the need for further instruction or more challenging teaching points.

Together with;

1) The content of determining the main idea and using critical thinking skills to locate support,

2) Taking advantage of numerous pedagogical strategies from advance organizers to collaboration, and

3) The technology platforms of Popplet and Edmodo permitting students to share and provide/receive feedback for their comprehension and application of this  knowledge- encompass the goal of TPCK (Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. 2009) and creates an environment for substantial learning.

What resources would look like in my 4th grade classroom:


Donovan, S., Bransford, J., & Pellegrino, J. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=030907036

Koehler, M.J., & Mishra, P. (2009). Too Cool for School? No Way! Learning and Leading with Technology http://punya.educ.msu.edu/publications/mishra-koehler-l&l-2009.pdf

Pollock, J. E. (2007) Improving student learning one teacher at a time.  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA. Retrieved from http://www.learninghorizon.net/ganag-lesson-planning/


Further reflection on this lesson, using a UDL Lens:


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