We've heard it 1,000 times in our classes over the years, the age-old question, "Why do we need to learn this?" Chris Lehmann, author of Building School 2.0 advises educators to seriously consider this question. "Students deserve an honest answer about what's worth knowing and why." He goes on to write, "If we create our learning spaces as places where every student has the right to ask, 'Why do I need to know this?'--where that is the first, most exciting question of every day--we can create vibrant, powerfully relevant classes that engage and empower everyone in them."
As you consider your lesson planning, pause and imagine you are going to be asked the question, "Why do we need to know this?" Take your lesson and reimagine and redesign it so your students will be able to walk away identifying why they need to learn the concepts and skills.
Questions to Think About
Will the concepts students will be learning important for future real-life applications? Or are these concepts that we are teaching "just in case they need it someday?" Can you on your own articulate why the concepts are important to learn or how we would use them in real life? If asked, can your students explain why they are learning what they are learning? Have you looked at the enduring understandings and essential questions in your unit to help to make this connection for students?