Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Lesson Plan W.A.L.T.Z. - ZING!

An educator with whom I discussed this piece entered my office and asked, “What’s the fifth step, the ‘Z’?”

“You know? The Zing!” I responded. 

She instantly knew.

The ‘Z’ stands for the Zing, the non-tangible component, of this acronym that will allow you to let the zing ring. The zing is whirling engagement. The zing is when the pupils of pupils light. The zing is when the learners take responsibility, pride, and ownership for their learning. It seems that in order for students to become vested in their work and take responsibility of their learning, they must be included in the planning piece.

The moments of true content mastery look different in every classroom, but it should be seen. Results should show in assessments. Quality models of student success should be displayed on the walls of the classroom.

One school year I allocated a separate same-sized bulletin board to each period. After grading each assignment I displayed quality work from the class. I marked an asterisk next to a student’s name when their fabulous work went on the board, to ensure that each person had an opportunity. The work executed became so quality the decisions became brutal. Students began to note mentions at the end of their turned-in work telling me that their work was board-worthy. Administration often toured my room with guests to display the boards. The boards allowed the student additional input into the lesson planning even after we completed the task. The boards worked one year, a blog in another. Of course, the students decided where and how to display their work.

We can endlessly dance around the issue of accountability, rigor and best practices. One thing is certain we can’t be successful teachers without successful students. Without their presence, buy in, and input, we stand in classrooms alone. We must WALTZ.


Mrs. Hanson (formally known as)