In Part 2, we created our learning objectives (LOs) and sorted them based on their level of cognitive complexity. We begin part three by planning the in-class portion where students will have peer and instructor support in achieving the advanced LOs. Whether a person is planning a traditional lecture or a flipped class, it’s important to split the class into three parts: a beginning, middle, and end.
The beginning, or first few opening minutes of class, should be used to draw the student back into the mindset of the classroom and jog their memory of the work they’ve performed before class. Simple tasks, such as asking them to write a one-minute summary of their experiences or views with the pre-class material, can help refresh their memory and cue them into the big takeaways of that work. Posing a guiding question can lead them towards a specific outlook or line of thinking that you want them to have during this session.
The middle section of class contains the bulk of the content, and the advanced LOs will be addressed here through group work and activities. A general rule of thumb is to spend about 70% of class time on the top one or two advanced objectives. Now that we have opened up all of this time during class we are commonly asked, “What should I do?” The answer lies somewhere in between “What you have always wanted to do in your class but never had the time for” and “Whatever best facilitates mastery of the LOs.” These are just a few of the active learning activities you can use throughout the class. Some key points for consideration:
- Are the tasks meaningful and challenging for students? If a task seems too simple, consider moving it into the pre-class session.
- How will students work with one another to demonstrate mastery over the objectives?
- Will students be able to complete all tasks during class time? Consider building in a few minutes of buffer for each activity in case you need to bring the class together for further explanation.
- Will the tasks and activities be graded? Is there a rubric? How will feedback be given so that it is useful as a tool for learning?
Finally, we have the end of class wrap-up. Much like the opening minutes, the closing minutes of class should be reserved for individual introspection activities such as reflection and summation. However, this time students should be drawing upon their experiences in class to make connections between what they’ve learned pre-class and in-class. Ask them to reflect on a mistake, misconception, or challenge and what strategies they employed to correct their work.
In the fourth and final part of this series we will look at the design of the pre-class session where students will gain first exposure to new content.