lesson plan

OBJECTIVE:.         The students will be able to

State their own favorites in several categories

Assist in manipulating data from a database

Recognize similarities of others and themselves

ACTIVITY: The students built a database with assistance from the teacher and manipulated the information to discover some similarities about themselves and college students.


Day One: We had a discussion about our school and others that go to school in different places.

Day Two: After receiving emailed information from some college students, the first graders participated in building a database of the information in the categories we collected.  We then had a discussion to see if the students that went to BSU and the students that went to Payette Primary had similar favorites in any of the categories.

Day Three: After we discussed in detail the similarities of each student with a BSU student, the first graders drew pictures of themselves with the BSU student that they had a similar favorite with and wrote a sentence to explain.

Day Four: The students shared their drawings and explained their favorites



Most of this unit was done whole group. The times that we entered data individually, other students were completing daily seatwork at their desks.

RESOURCE/REFERENCE: First Grade Curriculum/Payette School District


ASSESSMENT: The unit was assessed by teacher observation


Teaching Philosophy

My Approach to Teaching

The teachers I have had who stand out in my memory have some attributes in common: they presented their subjects in a way that caught my interest, clarified difficult topics and led me through complex areas, and put knowledge into context so that its relevance was apparent. These role models have influenced my approach to teaching: I view myself primarily as a facilitator of learning, rather than as an expert who simply delivers information to students. When planning a curriculum or interacting with students, I am always conscious of their different learning styles and rates, what they have already learned and what they will need to learn in the future. Feedback from students has been vital to the process of growth I have undergone since I began teaching: I learned from them, for example, the pacing of lectures, and effective ways to help them learn in small group discussions.

Personal contact with students is essential to my approach. Many need encouragement to talk to their teachers, so I emphasize my availability for informal discussion and my willingness to help them sort out any problems they have with what they are learning. My experience as a teacher is greatly enriched by this contact with students. I am fortunate to teach in a professional school where I can follow the progress of the students through the program and sometimes beyond graduation.

As I gained experience and confidence as a teacher, I came to regard teaching as my primary professional responsibility. Consequently, I moved into areas of teaching administration and faculty development. My current position as Assistant Dean legitimizes my efforts to effect changes in the medical curriculum, and places me where I can have an influence on the “learning climate” of the medical school. I am able to help my colleagues develop as teachers in my roles as local chair of the Canadian Association for Medical Education and as a TIPS teaching skills instructor. Several years ago, I began to be interested in the theoretical background for teaching and learning. I have attended meetings and workshops to learn about this and am currently enrolled in a distance-education diploma course in medical education. I have begun to do collaborative education research.

As a physiologist working in a professional school, I benefit from having students who are eager to learn an intrinsically-interesting subject. On the other hand, basic science teachers are often handicapped by having no clinical training, and therefore find it difficult to know the relevance of what they teach to the practice of medicine. Moreover, there is a torrent of new information in the basic medical sciences, and medical students have likened it to trying to sip from a fire hose. I have developed some teaching strategies to ameliorate these problems, including collaboration with clinicians for curriculum planning and teaching, and articulating clear educational objectives for myself and my students. Further, student autonomy is important in this situation: students must be encouraged to play an active role in determining what and how they learn. In so doing, they will develop the life-long learning skills needed to cope with progress in medical practice.

As chair of one component of a year-long course in Body Systems, I have had the opportunity of putting these strategies into practice. With my clinical colleagues, I have modified the content and format of the renal systems component so that it provides a bridge between preclinical and clinical sciences, and fosters students’ self-educational and self-evaluation.

I played an active role in developing a new course for the first year of medical studies: Introduction to Physiology is a model in our undergraduate program for its innovative use of demonstrations. As chair of this course, I continue to work with my colleagues and students to improve it and to demonstrate its unique qualities to physiologists around the world.


JANUARY 9, 2015

The Power of Storytelling in the College Classroom


By: Sal S. Buffo in Effective Teaching Strategies
Our students also love stories. A brief, well-told narrative can catch their attention and can set the mood for learning. We like stories because our brains operate in the same fashion. Stories allow our brain to use information in the most effective way. Our brains need the opportunity to classify and file information that is in relationship to each other. It doesn’t like that catchall closet of miscellaneous bits of information, it likes order, context, and continuity. Stories not only allow for a beginning and an end, but help us understand how we came to that end, what brought us there.I love stories; stories about life, our personal experiences, the happy and the sad. Stories teach us about how the world sometimes works and how we relate to it. When I was young, I used to love to hear my parents talk about their experiences when they were young. Their stories gave me the opportunity to learn not only about their lives, but also gave me a better understanding of my culture, the traditions of my family, and its history. In a sense, these stories gave me a better understanding of myself. Stories put into context information that would otherwise remain fragmented, pieces of this and that, thrown into a catchall closet in which items are tossed and usually hopelessly lost.

I try to start each class with a story. It could be a personal experience, a myth, a historical event, or anything that relates to that day’s lesson. Stories grab students’ attention. They become interested in not only what the story is about, but how the story relates to them. Stories in many ways touch the core of who we are, and that thing that makes us human. If you think back when you were a child and having a story read to you, didn’t you immerse yourself in the tale and perhaps think about how you would react if you were a character in the story? Philosopher James Stevens wrote, “The head does not hear anything until the heart has listened. The heart knows today what the head will understand tomorrow.” The things that we learn and remember usually stick with us because on some level we can relate to them personally. If we use stories in our teaching, it may give our students a better opportunity to connect to a more personal kind of learning.

Stories in the classroom can be a fundamental way of making discussions more meaningful. Interjecting that human component and assimilating ideas based upon our own personal experiences, not only allows students to begin to connect all the dots, but may aid in helping students feel more confident in their understanding of the subject matter.

Author and scholar Kieren Egan wrote this about teaching and storytelling: “Thinking of teaching as storytelling…encourages us to think of curriculum as a collection of great stories of our culture. If we begin to think in these terms, instead of seeing the curriculum as a huge mass of material to be conveyed to students, we can begin to think of teachers in our society as an ancient and honored role. Teachers are the tellers of our cultures role.”

I’d like to share a story with you

It’s always interesting to me when, at the beginning of class, I start with the words, “I’d like to share a story with you,” how the attention in the class changes. Students seem to put their focus not only on me, but themselves as well. It’s almost magical in some ways. It may be one of those few times where technology cannot replace the power of one person telling a story to another person.

So in using this notion, stories in our classroom can have four key advantages:

  1. Getting the students attention, as well as, focusing on the lesson at hand.
  2. Setting a platform for students to interact and comment on their thoughts about the story.
  3. Providing a stronger connection in the classroom, with you and fellow students.
  4. Giving students who normally do not participate in class, the opportunity to share their own personal experiences in relation to the stories shared.

Storytelling may be the oldest form of education. If I can, in some way, help students relate to what I am teaching, then their learning becomes more personal. So create a lesson which includes a story, give students the opportunity to become personally involved in the story, and you may find your students discovering a different view of the subject matter and the joy of learning itself.