Teachers Can Use Exemplar Lessons to Become More Effective In Classroom

Houston ISD teachers have the opportunity to enhance their skills with lesson plans designed with the help of educators in the district.

Teachers can utilize exemplar lessons as models of effective instructional planning based on district planning guides. In addition, as the exemplar lessons were designed for immediate classroom implementation, teachers can use the lessons “as is” or modify the content to meet the needs of their students.

Training on the exemplar lessons is currently available through Teacher Development Specialists (TDS). All exemplar lessons are available online through the Curriculum website, as well as through HISD elearn. Specific instructions can be accessed through the link above. You will need to be logged into the HISD Portal to access this information.

Feedback from teachers has been positive and indicates they are excited to have models for future planning. New teachers have said they appreciate the content-specific direction available through the exemplar lessons.

“The exemplar lessons I reviewed were well thought out and used a variety of instructional strategies to present the objectives involving Surface Area in Geometry,” said James Barnes, a math teacher at Carnegie Vanguard High School. “The lessons would be very easy for a new teacher, or a teacher new to teaching that specific class, to follow and use.”

Teachers from across the district served as teacher-writers assisting in the design and development of the exemplar lessons. Each lesson utilizes the components of effective teaching as outlined by the Houston ISD Instructional Practice Rubric, including the use of full lesson cycle, resources, checks for understanding, and suggestions for differentiation.

Using a questionnaire and group discussions, focus groups of teachers provided feedback and suggestions for revision that were incorporated into the final product.

The previous curriculum documents (Vertical Alignment Matrix, Scope and Sequence, Pacing Calendars, and Planning Guides) serve as lesson planning tools. Teachers use these documents as resources to design instruction that best meets the needs of their students. The exemplar lessons are models of daily lesson plans based on the information found in the curriculum documents. These lessons can be implemented “as is” by teachers or can be modified to meet the varying needs of HISD students.