How would you go about handling a classroom that has seven Individual Education Plans (IEPs) out of twenty-two students? This is a public school setting that is a culturally diverse environment. As a teacher, how do you go about looking out for the care of those who are IEP students? How will you know when to go on or to keep the same pace for the core of the group and letting the “smarter” students linger?
Sarah Wessling, honored as a 2010 teacher of the year, states,
“Improving the quality of teaching really means improving the degree of individualization in the classroom. What parents hope for and what students know is that a teacher who cares is a teacher who is invested in the people who participate in the culture of learning … That teacher knows students’ personal learning stories. That teacher recognizes that learning is personal, recursive, and not easily compartmentalized” (Bushaw 16).
Each day’s teaching lessons originate in a unit plan, which has a place in a yearly plan. These plans reflect the school’s vision. When planning curriculum, a teacher has to differentiate the core concepts of the unit of study. These are the most important ideas that all the students must know by the time the unit is complete. Next, a teacher needs to decide on the concepts that the student should know upon completion of the unit; finally, the teacher should define those concepts that will enhance the student’s learning.
Another way of looking at planning is listing the “essential questions” about the topic of study and the “enduring understandings” that students should know by the time the unit is completed.