For this assignment, I chose to revise the second lesson that I taught this semester, and my first ever Phys.Ed lesson––Factors that Influence the Popularity of Sports. While re-writing this lesson plan, I chose to focus on three particular elements: 1. Differentiation, 2. Adaptive dimensions, and 3. Treaty Education.
My Phys.Ed lesson plan, pre-revision, included only two adaptive dimensions: one suggestion for extending the lesson for higher-level students, and one suggestion for modifying the lesson for students who struggled with the lesson content. Differentiation was also meagre in my original lesson plan, as I only differentiated my teaching process. Before I did this assignment, I used to think that differentiation and adaptive dimensions were grand gestures––ways of completely changing my lesson in order to meet the learning needs of all my students. Maybe this is why, until now, I have shied away from differentiation and adaptive dimensions. However, what I have learned in my field experience this semester is that differentiation and adaptive dimensions are just tweaks to a lesson––however big or small––regarding lesson content, lesson presentation, assessment, in-class activities, multiple intelligences, etc., that help with the inclusion of all students. With this in mind, I revised my lesson plan to include differentiation strategies and adaptive dimensions all throughout my lesson. For instance, in my revised lesson plan, I included strategies to differentiate content, process, and assessment. To differentiate the content of my lesson, I included different learning activities for students who are at different learning-levels. To differentiate the teaching process of my lesson, I included different teaching strategies that would be inclusive of multiple intelligences, such as a lecture/group discussion for auditory learners, visual aids for visual learners, and physical activities for kinetic learners. Lastly, to differentiate the assessment of my lesson, I created an option that allows students to complete their exit slip verbally to a teacher, or with the help of a scribe.
Overall, my teaching of the original lesson plan went smoothly; however, after making changes to include more differentiation and adaptive dimensions, I believe that my revised lesson plan is more inclusive––it does a much better job of meeting the different learning needs of all of my students. However, this was quite a challenge––it took a lot of researching and re-writing in order to expand my lesson plan. But, I have to remember that I am only beginning my teaching journey. As I continue on throughout my education and my career, I will continue to add to my repertoire of strategies, and soon adaptive dimensions will become less foreign and more natural.
I also wanted to focus on including Treaty Education into my revised lesson plan. This also proved to be a challenge––I wasn’t able to link any of the Treaty Education outcomes to the topic of my lesson. However, I still saw an opportunity to incorporate Aboriginal content into my lesson, so I did some research and I found a traditional hunting game of the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia. I included this game (it’s called Taktyerrain) in my revised lesson plan. Originally, the game was created to prepare children for adult life, as it simulates a combat or a hunting situation, which, prior to colonization, was a means of survival for many Aboriginal tribes. Although I adapted the game to be played with dodgeballs, the game is often played with sticks to simulate spear throwing. In addition to this game, I also wanted to have a conversation with my students about the impacts of colonization on Aboriginal ways of life, such as their recreations. However, while I was re-writing my lesson, I felt that it was important to make realistic revisions––that is, revisions that would still allow me to complete the lesson in a 45-minute period (the amount of time that I had when I taught this lesson). That being said, I knew that it would not realistic to have a meaningful conversation about colonization in such a short amount of time, and I do not believe that such conversations should be brief in risk of them being tokenistic. If I had more time in my field experience, I could have extended this lesson over a period of several days where I would have discussed the impacts of colonization on Aboriginal Peoples, making interdisciplinary connections to Treaty Education and Social Studies outcomes.
Although my revised lesson plan does not link to any specific Treaty Education outcomes, I still thought that it was important to include knowledge of our Aboriginal neighbours to increase students’ cultural awareness. In my opinion, if teachers openly educate students about different worldviews, students are likely to become more understanding and accepting of others who are different than them.
Overall, I found this assignment challenging––it’s difficult to critique your own work. However, I enjoyed taking a step back to revise one of my old lesson plans using the tools that I have learned over the semester. This assignment demonstrated to me how much I have grown both personally and professional in a matter of a few weeks. I can’t wait to see how much I continue to grow over the next few years of my teaching journey.