Learning-Focused Strategies for Teachers

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  • 0:02 What Is Learning-Focused?
  • 0:46 LFM Guidelines for Teachers
  • 2:21 LFM Unit Planning Strategies
  • 3:49 LFM Lesson Planning Strategies
  • 5:10 Key Strategies for the LFM
  • 5:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Learning-focused strategies help to guide teachers towards developing that quality curricula. This lesson will explain what learning-focused strategies are and give some tips on how to use them.

What Is Learning-Focused?

The focus on quality instruction today is under the microscope. Parents, administrators, and even lawmakers are interested in what goes on in classrooms, and it's for good reason. Without quality instruction students don't learn. Models of instruction, therefore, are popping up at a pretty good clip. One of these models is called learning-focused. A learning-focused model (LFM) is a framework for planning exemplary lessons. Typically adopted by the school or district, it incorporates specific steps and strategies for teachers and administrators to use that result in high student achievement. Can teachers choose to adopt this model in their own classrooms? Of course! Let's look at how.

LFM Guidelines for Teachers

The learning-focused model provides a structure for teachers to follow. Teachers have a lot of important decisions to make when faced with a classroom, so the learning-focused model incorporates several key guidelines that help guide teachers in this decision making process.

First, it allows them to decide what to teach. Despite what many think, teachers don't just wake up knowing what to teach their students. The learning-focused model helps the teacher make informed decisions about what content to use in the classroom.

Second, it allows them to use key strategies. How teachers teach lessons is a varied art; sometimes whole group instruction works best, and other times individualized learning is a good choice. The learning-focused model outlines the 'how' of teaching.

Third, it allows teachers to focus on high-level thinking, since the model is all about high quality teaching. To this end the model puts much emphasis on high-level thinking questions, guiding teachers in how and when to use them in their daily practice.

Lastly, it allows teachers to develop quality assessment. Testing is an important component of teaching in two ways. Daily, teachers administer formative assessments, which are small, informal assessments used to determine current student understanding so that future lessons can be planned. Summative assessment happens at the end of a unit and is designed to assess the overall understanding a student has of the content. Both are necessary tools for a teacher, and the learning-focused model helps teachers recognize the difference between these two assessments and use them effectively.

LFM Unit Planning Strategies

The learning-focused model has steps to follow when planning for units focusing on the criteria we just learned about. This model stresses making connections between each component and recognizing the importance each plays in relation to the other.

Step 1: Complete the KUD Organizer

The first step is to complete the know-understand-do (KUD) organizer. Using this tool focuses teachers on what students need to learn and how they can make sense of it and what activities can be done to achieve this goal. For example, a 'K' may be 'students will know two digit addition', a 'U' may be 'how to carry numbers to the tens column,' and a 'D' could be 'practice in small groups with whiteboards'. Each step of the process will have a different KUD.

Step 2: Develop Assessments

The second step is to develop assessments. The teacher needs to decide how students will demonstrate their emerging understanding with formative assessments and their understanding of the concept overall with summative assessment. An assessment is needed for each goal on the KUD organizer.

Step 3: Create Student Learning Map

The third step is to create a student learning map, which is used for teachers to organize skills and concepts from the KUD. This graphic organizer helps make the steps visible to teachers by highlighting key concepts of the unit.

It's important to note that these steps are not day-to-day lesson plans but rather an overarching unit guide. Planning an individual lesson has its own steps, which we'll discuss now.

LFM Lesson Planning Strategies

After creating a KUD, developing assessments and pinpointing details on a student learning map, it's time to get into the meat of the lessons - how you'll teach on a day-do-day basis. These lessons continue to focus on connections back to your unit plan as well as to one another.

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