Lesson Planning Part IV: Evaluation

“A good cook always tastes her cooking.”
~R. Tanner-Bell, Home Economics Specialist
   Cornell University

We all know that quiet moment…the guests have gone, leftovers are wrapped, and the good china is back in its cupboard.

The party’s over.
But not really.

You, as the host, are mulling over the events of the evening…the laughter of the guests, the compliments on your centerpiece, and the spontaneous story telling. You notice that the appetizers were a huge hit (four people asked for your crab dip recipe!) and that the pork tenderloin is completely gone. The glazed carrots, however, seemed to get a rather lukewarm reception…no one took seconds even though you passed the dish around the table twice. Before you blow out the last of the candles, you ponder all of these things. “Next time, I’ll try that red pepper recipe,” you think, “and I’ll be sure that Joe sits near the center of the table so he can hear the conversation better.”

You’re evaluating. This is an important summative step for any host, and for every teacher. This stage of lesson planning allows you to reflect on how your objectives were met, and how well your procedures worked. Some teachers keep a journal of their lessons, while others like to jot down strengths and weaknesses of their lessons in list format. Still others prefer to process things verbally with other teachers. Identify an evaluation style that works well for you, and make it a habit. Good teachers constantly evaluate their teaching in order to try new strategies and assess their effectiveness.

But… be kind to yourself in this process! Sometimes, even with the best laid plans, things go poorly. Perhaps the kids
in your Sunday School class had all gone to the championship football game the night before, and they arrived bleary-eyed and cranky. Maybe the activity you so carefully planned got nixed because the worship time was extra-long. Or, perhaps one of your students had a meltdown because he wanted to go to McDonald’s instead of to church, and this threw off the whole lesson. There ARE going to be circumstances beyond your control…some days are like that.

So, as you evaluate, focus on the following questions:

  • Did the students meet the lesson objectives?
  • What went well during this lesson?
  • How did our transition times go?
  • What do I need to focus on next week to improve our classroom culture?
  • How can I re-teach content that the students didn’t seem to understand?
  • What activities were particularly successful with this group?
  • How has my teaching improved since last year?

I hope this series has been helpful as you begin your programs this fall~ Please send me your success stories (feel free to BRAG!)

One more thing…remember who the real Host is for your “dinner party” and what He has to say about His plans:

I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
       and my people will be filled with my bounty,”
       declares the LORD

Jeremiah 31:14 NIV

Bon Appetit!

PS I’ll be posting a pdf of my lesson plan form soon for you to download and use this year!

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