District Samples Curriculum Project (DSCP): Phase IV High Impact Instructional Strategies
Four Essential Elements
Participants of the "All Standards, All Students" Summer Institute provided sample lessons which included four essential elements:
Element 1: Classroom Context. To help other teachers understand the context of their lesson, participants were asked to provide their content area, grade level, and class size; to describe their student population (without any personally identifiable information); and to discuss relevant features of their school environment (e.g., access to instructional materials, aspects of the school culture that influence instructional decisions).
Element 2: Lesson Planning with Rationales for Your Decisions. The lesson plan needed to reflect the teachers' metacognition: not just what they planned to do in the lesson, but why they were planning to do it. Educators were also asked to be explicit and intentional in their decision-making process, with phrasing like, "I plan to use Instructional Strategy X so that students will engage in Practice Y, and here is how I predict this will happen in the lesson." They could use the metacognitive questions in the CDE Concept-Based Lesson Planning Process Guide template to help them through this process, along with any other planning guides or tools they received from their CDE content specialist.
Element 3: Description of the Lesson Implementation. Participants were asked to give a straightforward synopsis of the implementation of the lesson, focusing on what actually happened, without relying on inferences or interpretations. They were asked to consider the lesson from a student's point of view, or the perspective of an observer who didn't know the lesson plan ahead of time. They could also include artifacts of student work.
Element 4: Reflection. Whereas the description of the lesson focuses on what happened, the reflection needed to focus on why things happened, and how the lesson plan did or did not work as intended. Participants were asked to describe the effect of instructional choices on students, and their perception of the effectiveness of their instructional strategies. In addition, they were asked to suggest revisions for the lesson, and how they might use and improve the instructional strategies chosen. Finally, they were asked to include a summary of student reflections of the lesson and/or student learning during the lesson.