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Planning Your Instruction with Courseware

Planning Your Instruction with Courseware

As with any curricular resource, the goal of Courseware, Edmentum’s standards-based digital curricula for grades 6–12, is to enhance the work of teachers in providing high-quality instruction to their students. Lesson planning is a critical step to delivering effective instruction, whether in person or virtual. To support educators, Edmentum’s Learning Design team has developed a research-based, four-step process that guides teachers through planning lessons with Courseware.

The steps of this process are outlined below with detail on the Courseware elements within each step. For concrete examples of this process in both blended and virtual settings, download our guide: Designing Instruction with Edmentum Courseware.

Step 1: Review the course materials

Courseware provides all relevant student-facing materials, including instruction, worksheets, guided notes, embedded digital activities, and assessments. Teachers are supported with syllabi and semester teacher’s guides. To use these materials for daily lessons, teachers must first understand what the course is asking students to know and to be able to do. Teachers can come to this understanding by reviewing these items:

  • Unit Activities – These are the formative assessments at the end of a unit.

  • Lesson Activities – These are formative assessments at the end of a lesson.

  • Student tutorials – These are slides and worksheets that students will encounter during their lesson.

  • Tutorial objectives – At the beginning of each tutorial, learning objectives are presented to students.

Step 2: Preview material with students

Before students work through their tutorials, teachers should preview the material with them. Rather than go slide by slide (Courseware is designed to move students independently through the tutorials), teachers select specific elements to preview with their students to promote success. Teachers might use slides from the tutorial to support previews of the following with their students:

  • Key concepts – These are introduced and explicitly taught in the tutorials, but the concepts would benefit from further explanation by the teacher.

  • Discussion opportunities – Depending on their school setup, teachers can provide peer-to-peer, small-group, and whole-class discussion opportunities to deepen ideas through student-lead thinking.

  • Differentiation and support – Teachers know their students well. By using their available knowledge and data, teachers can plan to support students who may struggle with the material in the course or extend material for those who need an extra challenge.

  • Common misunderstandings – Some topics are known to give students trouble. Teachers can anticipate these common misunderstandings and lead students to be successful the first time! In some courses, Clarifying Big Ideas mini lessons support teachers in doing just that.

Step 3: Review student work and data

Courseware provides many opportunities for data collection on student performance. By reviewing student work from these opportunities, teachers can evaluate what students know and create next steps to maximize learning. Teachers may wish to consider:

  • Lesson Activities – These are often multilayered, and they demonstrate students’ progress toward tutorial objectives. They are formative in nature because teachers are meant to give feedback to student Unit Activities.

  • Mastery Tests – These are computer-scored formative tests that assess students’ mastery of skills taught in a tutorial. Students are scored against a mastery cut score of 80 percent to progress in their coursework.

  • Unit Activities – These are multilayered assignments that pull together skills and concepts from the entire unit. They are formative in nature because teachers are meant to give feedback.

  • Unit Post-Tests – These are similar to mastery tests, but they assess concepts and skills from the whole unit. Rather than achieving a mastery score, students are scored with a percentage of points obtained on the test.

Step 4: Plan to address students’ needs

After reviewing data from Courseware, teachers can plan to address individual students’ needs. These plans should be aligned to the school’s implementation model and expectations, teacher discretion, and of course, the students in the class. Some options to address students’ needs include:

  • Guided notes – Provided with each tutorial, guided notes are a great way to focus students on the concepts that matter most or to review the important points in the tutorial.

  • Small-group sessions – Teachers can meet with groups of students (in person or virtually) to address common struggles from the tutorials or assessments.

  • Personalized feedback – Lesson Activities and Unit Activities are great opportunities to provide individual students with personalized feedback on their work.

  • Whole-class modeling – Teachers can select items from the tutorial, practice problems, or items from Mastery Tests or Post-Tests to model thinking for students. Additionally, teachers may select “parts” of Lesson Activities or Unit Activities to work through together with students.

Courseware provides a research-based digital curricula designed for today’s learners in face-to-face, blended, and virtual settings. Learning in Courseware is best when paired with the expertise of a teacher. By following these steps, teachers can use Courseware to plan lessons that meet the needs of all their students and provide an engaging experience everywhere learning occurs. To learn more about the design of Courseware, read the Learning Design and Research Base for Edmentum Courseware.

Matt.Strader@edmentum.com's picture
Matt Strader

Matt Strader has over 10 years’ experience in education as a teacher and administrator in New York City. A Teach for America alumnus, Matt spent his career in urban schools and is passionate about equity and inclusion for all students. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M University in curriculum and instruction and Senior Manager of Content Design at Edmentum. He believes that making research-based practices practical for the classroom will change lives!