Kids DO learn differently today.
The world of social networking, mass media, and technology has literally changed the way children interact with one another, access information, and think about the world around them. For more information about how our students learn and how this affects classroom instruction, visit the following informative sites:
Teaching the 21st Century Learner, Rodgers et. al. http://depd.wisc.edu/series/06_4168.pdf
The 21st Century Learner, The Government of Alberta. education.alberta.ca/media/815903/the21stcenturylearner.doc
21st Century Teaching and Learning, Curriculum Services Canada. http://www.curriculum.org/secretariat/snapshots/learners.html
Authentic Learning for the 21st Century, Lombardi. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3009.pdf
A Vision of K-12 Students Today, Video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-ZVCjfWf8&safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1
Student-focussed learning is the key to good teaching.
Good teaching is data driven. Data doesn't necessarily mean scores from standardized tests, however. Data includes assessment for, as, and of learning. Rather than restricting yourself to following a long range plan perfectly, let your students lead the learning by demonstrating what they already know and then by helping them get to the next step. Planning should be very fluid, and it should reflect student needs. Some topics may be easily and quickly grasped by your students while others may require more time. Plan through the backwards design model, which is described in detail in the Guide to Effective Mathematics Instruction, K-6, Volume 1: http://www.eworkshop.on.ca/edu/resources/guides/Guide_Math_K_6_Volume_1.pdf.
Planning through the backwards design model is a logical approach. Not only does it help you focus on the big ideas in the math curriculum, it also helps you determine at a glance what you expect your students to understand at the end of a unit. This, in turn, will help you help them choose appropriate success criteria for their learning goals. For more information about success criteria and big ideas, visit these excellent sites and review these exceptional documents:
Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/growSuccess.pdf
Informing Practice, Curriculum Services Canada. http://www.curriculum.org/secretariat/studentled/informing.shtml
Dr. Marian Small: One, Two.. Infinity. http://www.onetwoinfinity.ca/
Learning Goals & Success Criteria. http://www.edugains.ca/resourcesAER/VideoLibrary/LearningGoalsSuccessCriteria/LearningGoalsSuccessCriteriaViewingGuide2011.pdf