Today my wonderful co-teacher and I got a chance to sit down together and map out the first few weeks of school. Since this year we aren’t both new to the school, we were able to get done in about an hour what took us at least 3 hours last year. We didn’t dig in too deep because we know we will have some more time next week, but we got the first 5 lessons of the year roughly mapped out. This is heavy on the ROUGH because we were talking and I was trying to write really fast so that I wouldn’t loose the thoughts. It was truly enjoyable to plan because we now have first hand knowledge about lessons we taught at this time last year. We had the chance to reflect and I’m certain that although the skeleton of our instruction is the same, the delivery will be much better because of the refining we did today. We both endured I mean enjoyed 30 hours of GT training last week and I’m pleased to say that our time and efforts paid off because several of the strategies and methods that we learned about have actually made their way into our lessons.
This is the first time that I’ve been able to use the chart that I created for long range planning.
To download this chart click here. In our district we formally submit our lesson plans digitally which isn’t a problem, except that I find it difficult to transition from a great time of planning and thinking with my partner into actually sitting down at my computer and writing the plans. I’ll be honest and admit this has more to do with the fact that I have never really had a way to keep track of our ideas that worked for me. Over the years, most of my roadmapping has consisted of a collection of randomly selected post-it notes falling off my computer monitor and sometimes into the trash before I could spare a moment to type them up, share them and submit them. I am so excited about having this chart in my planner because seeing 4 lessons for each grade level is really great for continuity. The picture I’ve included is only of Kinder, 1st and 2nd, but you should know that my 3rd, 4th and 5th is equally as sloppy. I decided to highlight around the border after our session just to aid me as I looked over my notes.
I understand that sometimes folks who have a teaching partner split up the work by grade level so that each person is responsible for developing, preparing and formally submitting the lessons for their assigned grade levels. I’m sure that would work, but I have found that it helps me teach better when I’m involved in the planning and prep of all of the grade levels I teach. The way we solve the problem is by being responsible for either the odd lessons or the even lessons for each grade level. This method forces us to collaborate more than we would have to if we only planned and prepared half of the grade levels because our lessons actually have to make sense together. It may not be something that would work for everyone, but I think it works really well for us.