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Lesson Planning with Shulman

Lesson Planning with Shulman

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson provides instruction on how to update a lesson plan using the Shulman framework as a model

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Welcome to a tutorial on lesson planning with Shulman. I've got some really important ideas to cover with you today. Ideas that will be so useful to you in your own teaching, and very relevant in your own classroom. We have one main question that we will address in today's tutorial. The question that we are going to talk about and discuss throughout this tutorial is, how can I adapt an existing lesson plan to incorporate ideas from Shulman's framework.

So let's start with a quick reminder of Shulman's framework. First a review of his idea that the two domains of knowledge, PK, or pedagogical knowledge, which is the ability to understand how to teach effectively, and CK, or content knowledge, or the deep understanding of the content you're teaching, must really be intertwined.

The overlapping area of CK and PK, or PCK, pedagogical content knowledge, is the most important piece to this puzzle. It's here that teachers understand how to teach and what they need to teach. Also remember Shulman's checklist of observable behaviors. We'll be referring to these often throughout this series of tutorials, and I'll dive deeper into those with this tutorial as well.

So we're going to apply what we've learned about Shulman's models, and specifically the six observable behaviors for classroom teachers, and what we're going to do is update an existing lesson. So here's a lesson that we're going to talk about on pollution. What is Pollution is the title, and it's going to be for sixth grade. And one to two classes will be the duration of this lesson.

The objectives will be to describe ways that we affect the environment as humans, and also for students to describe pollution and what it looks like. The process will be to ask what is pollution to the class, what kinds of human activities create pollution, and then have the students discuss examples within groups and allow time for a presentation to be completed, that they will present to the class.

Applying these ideas, we're going to work through each of the six observable behaviors and update each one at a time, starting with comprehension for understanding. It's here that we want to make sure we're assessing prior learning and identifying goals of new content.

So what we're going to do is, we're going to look at our lesson plan and what we have in this area we can adapt and change, starting with our tasks and objectives. So we've decided that we're going to describe ways that humans affect environment. That's what we want our first objective to be. And we also want our students to describe pollution and give examples.

And the process for this step here to figure out what do the students know already is to ask what is pollution. What kind of human activities create this pollution? So we're going to use some questions to help get some information from our students.

One way that we can adapt this lesson and update it, making it better according to Shulman's model, is to maybe add a step here. After gathering these ideas, maybe we can discuss examples of litter pollution in the class and have students talk about what they've experienced. Maybe even as a teacher, you'd like them to write down these experiences or write down the answers to the first question so that you can use that data in furthering the creation of your lesson or adding to it as you move along.

The most important thing here in this step is to make sure that you're, as a teacher, asking what is the purpose or objective of the lesson that students need to know or be able to do.

So now let's look at transformation of ideas. And it's here as a teacher that you need to observe in yourself, are you making connections or are you allowing students to make those connections. Are the ideas that you are instructing relateable? It's here that you want to make sure that you're using the correct tools.

You're asking yourself, what materials and selections are best suited for many students. How can I adapt things to meet the needs of my students. You're really wanting to make sure that you have a good idea of what your pedagogical strategies are here, and it's important, really, to have a good idea of pedagogical skills and make sure that you're fully understanding your content throughout this entire lesson.

So let's look at our lesson again. What is pollution? And our objectives here were the same. So maybe we can really think about our students, and we know that we have some more advanced students mixed in to our class, so let's add in a step where we're going to use digital cameras in our group, and we're going to go out, and look at our environment, and take pictures of actual evidence of pollution or letter. And we're also maybe going to allow some time for computers and internet research as well as discussion before the presentations.

And then after we look at transformation of ideas, we want to move on to looking at our instruction, our methods. And, again, this includes the pedagogical as well as the content. We need to understand that we have both of these in our lesson and are using these effectively.

Here, we want to make sure we're selecting purposely. Are we being intentional in our instruction? Are we using what we have learned about our students so far, and what we know about our content, what they know about the content, to actually instruct? So our process here was to ask, what is pollution, gather ideas, get into groups-- we added that step-- take some pictures, and do some research, and then present in class.

And here's an updated process. According to Shulman, we need to have really purposeful instructions. So step number three, we're going to add this in here, allow groups to go outside. And, of course, in a safe environment, take some pictures with digital cameras, record some evidence on paper, and then return to class, discuss those findings.

And then maybe, as we are doing some research both online, if possible, and written in discussion, we're going to talk about the use of PowerPoints as a class, or maybe a class blog regarding pollution. So we're going to bring in some technological tools, if it's appropriate for our class.

We're also going to add a step here. Maybe as groups present, we're going to have students list one or two things that were interesting about their learning. In this instruction, we want to make sure and ask questions as a teacher like, have I incorporated group work, are students aware of their expectations.

And that's something that we could write out in our lesson plan as well, but we do want to make sure they have very clear instructions of this whole process to effectively use questioning techniques. So here we're going to go ahead and make sure that we have that in our group activity. Have I provided opportunities for discovery and inquiry? And of course, going outside and actually physically taking pictures and recording evidence is going to be a really great process for our students.

Let's move to evaluation. The most important questions to ask when looking at this as a teacher are, have I included checks for understanding throughout the entire lesson. Not just the end, not just that formative assessment, but all throughout in the beginning, middle, and end. And if I need to, am I adjusting it if my students are not mastering it.

So here we're going to check for understanding, make sure we have that assessment, and then we're going to return to class and discuss the findings. So the beginning, we were asking some questions. In the middle, we're going to discuss those findings. And as a teacher, you can observe this throughout those class discussions, walk around, ask questions to groups.

At the end, the presentation itself is going to summarize what our students have learned for us, and then we're also going to get further learning from our students, having the students address what they have learned throughout others' presentations.

Next, we're going to take about reflection. And this is the fifth step in Shulman's observable behaviors checklist. The most important question here for yourself is to ask, do I do these four things. Do I review as I'm teaching and instructing? Do I reconstruct as needed? Do I reenact, if I need to add some more activities so that my students can master that learning? Do I analyze what I've done and make changes as I need to?

So we're going to look here at the whole process that we've gone through. We're going to make sure that we're reviewing, are our objectives appropriate, reconstruct those if we need to, and really analyze those, especially at the end, analyze if that was appropriate for our class.

Through the process or the strategies and activities, we're going to make sure we review those before we implement them. Are they pedagogically correct? Do we make sure that we know our content enough to work our students through the process. Do we reconstruct as needed, or reenact any of activities or add to those activities. And finally, do we analyze what we've done? Did it work?

The assessment, we also want to do these four steps. We want to review, do we really understand why we're assessing. Are we working towards that assessment through the entire process? Reconstruct those assessments. Add some in, if we need to. Redo or reenact assessments if our students aren't mastering. Maybe redo an activity and then redo our assessment, or change it if we need to.

And lastly, do we analyze this whole process. Did our assessment meet our goals as far as learning what our students mastered?

The final of the six observable behaviors is new comprehension, and it's here as teachers that we want to use the reflection process that we just went through to create a new understanding. In our process, we want to make sure that we're asking, am I developing a deeper understanding of both the content and my students.

And so through our entire process, we want to make sure we're learning about our students. Here in the first two steps of our process, we are doing that. We are gathering some ideas, asking our students questions. In our assessment, we're definitely learning more about our students. Here we're observing what do they get from all of our discussions. What do they already know? What did they learn through the process? How can they presented those ideas to us as a teacher?

So let's review what we've covered today. We learn how to incorporate Shulman's framework, specifically the checklist of observable behaviors, into an existing lesson plan of yours. I've enjoyed reviewing these important ideas of Shulman's with you today. I hope you are able to use these ideas in your very own classroom.

So how can we apply these ideas? Let's reflect on the questions, can you think of additional ideas to incorporate Shulman's framework into your own lessons. What are the benefits of applying Shulman's framework to your lessons? How does that benefit you?

To dive a little paper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you will find links targeted towards helping you discover more ways that you can apply all of this course material.

Notes on "Lesson Planning with Shulman"


(00:00- 00:24) Introduction/objectives

(00:25-01:15) Recap of Shulman's ideas

(01:16-01:59) Sample lesson plan for application

(02:00-09:45) Application of Shulman's ideas/updating a lesson

(09:46-10:33) Review

Additional Resources

21st Century Classrooms Designing and Sharing

This is an easy to follow presentation by Nancy Caramanico that connects Bloom's, TPACK and Marzano in the 21st century classroom. Additionally, Caramanico provides activities for you to check and deepen your understanding of the blending of the three.

Situated Studies of Teaching and Learning: The New Mainstream

In his ISSOTL 2013 key note speech, Lee Shulman speaks about situated teaching and learning. He also talks about professional practice and its importance in the field of education and research. This keynote offers great insights into the thinking and research of Shulman.