For years I have been writing the learning target of the lesson as an essential question. I add the strategies/skills and activities that will help answer the focus question. This became the students’ study guide, and I refer to the ‘map’ throughout the lesson.
One evening, as I was designing a lesson, I again looked through Morrison McGill’s 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers for a refreshing idea and came across #55 ‘Spit it Out! (What? Why? How?)’.
Ah ha! Three obvious questions so easily forgotten; questions we should always be asking our students. However, I now target the learning by asking What? Why? How? The questions clarify my lesson design, and I hope my ELLs make better sense of the lesson.