March 09, 2005
In a recent tip published by Works4Me, Margaret Martin tells us that 'Educational Leadership, a publication of ASCD, has a whole issue devoted to the idea of student participation in the planning of lessons.' Teachers are often fearful of giving up control of the class, not meeting curriculum demands, or even seeming unprepared when they include students in on planning. However, there are great ways to plan well while asking for student input. One of the best ways that works for me is to list on the board several plans of approach we could take for one day's lesson, for a week, or for a unit. For example, I might say that we are definitely going to discuss an assigned reading, but that we can have that discussion as a whole class or in small groups. You can give students a choice of continuing in a group that they've already worked with or forming new groups; the choice can be between partners (groups of two) or larger groups. Students can also help decide the order of a lesson: 'Here's what we're going to do today (or this week or in this unit. Which of these should we do first? Making choices together is a great way for classes to learn the process of consensus building, too.