Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Year Long Planning

Hello Teachers and School Leaders,

I have been visiting schools and supporting fellow teachers and administrators as they make their plans for the 2013-2014 school year.  I want to share with you some of the ideas that teachers seem to like best.

Idea Number 1:  Plan out reading, writing, math, science, social studies, as well as assessments on a calendar grid.  See this kindergarten sample from Manhattan School for Children.

 The teachers created this together and then we revised and added in the assessments we needed.  They searched for curricular connections and used note cards so they could physically move things around if needed.  Then, they added clear dates on their calendars for writing celebrations and assessment dates.

And, they also set up a protocol for their weekly planning meetings so they can hold themselves to this amazing grid.  They will start each meeting with a 5 minute calendar check-in so each teacher can reflect and set classroom goals for the following week.

Idea Number 2:  Plan out an Ideal Week
Use post-it notes to plan for everything you need to do and want to do in a school week.  Do you need to teach 5 math workshops in a week?  Then make 5 post-its that say Math Workshop.  Do you want to teach Word Study 4 times a week?  Then make 4 of those.  Don't forget the post-its that say lunch, gym, art, etc.  Then, plot it all out on a big chart.  Start asking, "What's most important?"  and "What can I leave out?"  and "According to my data, what do my kids need most right now?"  Here is an example from a first grade teacher.  She is still looking for the room to do more shared reading, word study, and interactive writing.  She'll make it happen.

Best wishes as you play around with your unit plans and weekly plans.  

Remember, we have so much of the day in our control.  
We can choose the things to teach that our students need most, 
and the methods that are engaging and fun!