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  • Scott Connelly

Begin with the end in mind

Beginning with the end in mind has been a mantra for me in my teaching and pastoral career. We call it backwards thinking, but if you really think about it, it makes the most sense. When I was in the classroom, before looking at my textbook, textbooks, and projects I would look up the standards that needed to be covered in the unit or chapter. I know it was very easy for me to chase rabbits and get lost in the fluff and the overflow of information and miss the main idea of what the student was supposed to walk away with. When I am in a unit, I take my standards and compare them to the test that is provided to me by the textbook. I am thankful I have editable versions of the test because I discard out every question that has nothing to do with the standard or substandards. I do the same for any quizzes I plan on giving. It does not matter how great of a teacher I am if I am teaching the wrong things. I do leave room for students’ questions and interests, even if they are not a part of the standards. Next, I look at my projects and make sure they directly correlate with the standards. The hardest part for me is in my lecture time; this is where I chase rabbits and cover things that are not necessarily in the standard. I taught U.S. Government and Economics and it is easy to get off track. In order to keep me on track I started designing my exit tickets to be a reflection of what the student learned for the day. Not every student is going to write a standard, but if few or no students write anything that has to do with the standard, I know I did not hit the mark. When we start getting close to the test, I usually use kahoot as a review and show them most of the test questions to see how well they know the material, and it also gives me an idea on how close they are to knowing the standards. The kahoot is my last resort; if I do not have most of the students getting them write then I go back and reteach before the assessment. This is how I use backwards planning.

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