SED 741 Overheads
 Lesson Planning - How do we create and assess standards-based courses and lesson plans that are intellectually challenging and relevant to our students’ lives?

Below, please find the overheads for discussions that will take place over the next three weeks.  Remember, each overhead is separated by a solid line.

Nancy Henkel's class themes

Class Topics and Themes




Foreign Policy/Terrorism




Discussion Questions

Question #1: How should we address the state standards in our lessons?

  1. What are your reactions to the standards?
  2. How does your mentor teacher deal with the standards?
  3. How do you think you can deal with your weaknesses in regard to the state standards?
  4. What topics are you passionate about, but apparently are not listed in the standards?

Question #2: What are the basic components of a good lesson?

Getting Started on Your Lesson Plan

1.     Begin with a broad topic.  For example, you have to write a lesson plan on the 1920s.

2.    Think about how the topic and your issues fit into the Standards  Your topic is the 1920s and you can find an easy fit with Standard 11.5 - “Students analyze the major political, social, economic, technological, and cultural developments of the 1920s.”

3.     Research your selected topic and  issues.

4.     Determine how your topic and issues fit into one or more of your overall course themes.

5.     Determine the "bottom line" goals/messages you want emphasize in your lesson and how these relate to your overall theme(s) or questions(s). 

6.   Think about how you want to present your informationOnce you have a good understanding of the topics and your themes, you can begin to think about how you will teach the information. 

7. Decide how you will conclude your lesson in a way that emphasizes your overall theme(s) or question(s).

8.  Decide how you will assess your lesson in a way that demonstrates that your students understood the contents and the way they connected to your theme(s) or question(s).

Question #3: How do we assess our lessons?

Document Based Questions (DBQs)

The DBQ is designed to enable students to work like historians, analyzing and synthesizing evidence from a variety of sources. Further, DBQs are designed to test the skills a student historian uses in interpreting historical material. As such, it does not require that a student be familiar with the event or topic that is being presented; a student will be able to respond adequately using only the data provided.

The types of documents that might be used as historical sources include: public records; art, literature, music; maps; news articles, photographs; diaries and letters; charts and graphs, speeches; interviews; and political cartoons. In general, students read 2 to 7 documents (depending on the grade level), analyze the documents, answer a series of questions, and then write an essay using their answers to those questions.

Following are some tasks that students could be asked to do in a DBQ:

The following resources will provide further information about DBQs:

Multiple Choice/Guess Skill Building Technique - an assessment option

There are three tiers to multiple choice analysis that you can teach your students. By making a game of it - presenting 2-3 mulitple choice questions a week all taken from previous STAR exams, you can help your students build good decision-making skills. These skills will help them pass standardized exams and will provide them with life-long learning skills. This involves a three-step process:

  1. What do you know? What historical knowledge do you already have about this topic? If you know you answer, you don't need to go to the next step. If you know something about the topic, keep that information in mind as you go to the next step.
  2. What are the clues? What vocabulary or other indicators provide clues about the correct answer?
  3. What can you eliminate? If you can't find the answer through your knowledge of the topic or various clues, then what answers can you dismiss through a process of elimination?

You can use this great quiz on the Civil Rights Movement from Teaching Tolerance to practice this type of assessment - "What do you know about the Civil Rights Movement?" at

Getting your Students to distinguish between opinion and evidence - an assessment option

This chart is similar to a KWL, but it helps students with their writing. They first write what they think about the topic - their opinion. Then, they are required to find 2-3 pieces of evidence to support their thinking.

What do I think? What evidence supports my thinking?

Suggested Essay Rubric

Suggested Presentation Rubric

On a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the highest), rate yourself/your classmate(s)

I spoke clearly ____
My partner spoke clearly ____
He/she spoke clearly ____

I made good eye contact _____
My partner made good eye contact ____
He/she made good eye contact ____

I clearly stated my theme/thesis ____
My partner clearly stated his/her thesis ____
He/she clearly stated his/her thesis ____

My presentation was well-organized ____
My partner’s presentation was well-organized ____
His/her presentation was well-organized ____

I was well-prepared ____
My partner was well-prepared ____
He/she was well-prepared ____

The students understood my presentation ____
The students understood my partner’s presentation ____
The students understood his/her presentation ____

I kept the audience’s attention ____
My partner kept the audience’s attention ____
He/she kept the audience’s attention ____

I answered questions ____
My partner answered questions ____
He/she answered questions ____

Question #4: How do we create a course syllabus that emphasizes the topics and themes that we wish to address?

Creating a Course Syllabus

Components of a Good Introductory Letter and/or YouTube Video Introduction

Remember, you want to give the parents a good idea of who you are – this “unknown” teacher person who is taking over the class of a “known teacher.”  So, at the very least, include the following in your introductory letter:

You have the option of attaching the course syllabus.

Components of a Good Extra Credit Film List

Remember, the idea behind providing a good extra credit film list is to encourage your students to think about the actual content of the films they watch and to encourage students and their families to watch films together.  The must include the following in your Extra Credit Film List, which you will attach to your introduction letter:

You have the option of annotating the list, but it is not necessary.