Thursday, 9 April 2015

She Who Plans, Succeeds

Image source:

My title, She Who Plans, Succeeds....because I like to put a positive spin on things...
Maybe it's not quite as eloquent as Benjamin Franklin or Winston Churchill but, it's true...
I plan.  And I succeed.  (Usually).  And I'm a "she". 

Here's the nitty gritty, down and dirty, bare-bones approach to planning.
There will be no "re-tweeting", pinning, sharing or even "liking" to these links.  Not likely anyway.
It is what it is.  Planning to cover my bases and ensure outcomes are met.

Do I plan like this everyday?  Heck no!

Can I?  Oh yeah.   I can and I will if it's what I need to do to prove myself to parents, colleagues, superiors and, even lil 'ole me (with a big conscience that every now and then demands that all my i's be dotted and my t's be crossed so I can sleep at night).

For the curriculum mumbo-jumbo (General Learner Outcomes - GLO's and Specific Learner Outcomes - SLO's) that I mention in my plans, refer to Programs of Study, Alberta Education , click on the appropriate subject and then the specific grade link.  This is similar to what my American counterparts know as the Common Core.

When I mention Permeation of Faith with Intent I am referring to the points of convergence between the program of studies and the Permeation of Intent Tasks, Virtues and Values created by the Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate Regional Div. 4.  Find the Permeation with Intent and Grade specific curriculum maps here.

Lesson plans 

Read them, skim them, or skip them altogether.  I'm going to admit it,  I'm jumping through hoops here.  Although I do actually do almost everything I write in these plans every single day, I do not write it down every single day.  Not in this much detail.  Who has time?
So the plans aren't pretty.  But they did the job I asked them to do.  Isn't that what we're all really aiming for?

Language Arts 3/4 Paragraph Writing/Daily 5 Lesson

Social Studies 3/4 Venn Diagram Lesson

Weekly plans

Example of Week 5 plans from Teacher Binder
Example of Week 25 plans from Teacher Binder

These these are my lifelines.  These weekly plans keep me sane and hopefully will make me a very happy woman in years to come.  (At one point I thought that was my husband's job, but I'm quite certain these weekly plans are quickly and deceptively taking his place!)   At least in school they are.   I devote at least an hour a week to these plans and they are worth every milli-second.  Admittedly, they could be better, more outcomes-based, more detailed in assessment strategies and differentiation tactics.  (Look close at my photos and you'll see that even by mid-year I've been able to devote just a little more attention to the "Objectives" column!) For now, for my first year using them, they are good.  They are works in progress and the beauty part is, they will be used again, and improved upon.  They're digital.  They're neat and tidy.  They're color-coded!  The templates were purchased from the ever-so-organized, creative wonder that is Traci Clausen at Teachers Pay Teachers.

The first picture is an example of my first few weeks of school and the next is mid-year, just so you can see that although I'll need to open the document again and add/delete, assuming I teach the same thing next year, they are absolutely re-usable and improvable (now I'm just making up words!)

Such a time-saver!
Note: I create and use these with Excel.  Google sheets (which is what my link below is for) does not do these justice.  Although you're able to get a good idea of what goes on during my week, you can't fully understand how concise and practical these are unless you can view them in the 2-page spread which is why I've included photos.  Also, when you're in the google doc, you will be directed to the first blank template page.  To see them in use, you'll have to click on the light grey weeks at the bottom of the screen.

Example of Weekly Plans

Unit Plans

Let's call this the "High-school, No time for messing around, Specific language outcomes to be Achieved, Few Resources Available so Teacher makes her Own" French 10 Unit Plan.  circa 2005

Sit down, hold on tight and brace yourself...this is the "Drama Queen Third Grade India Unit Plan". So called because it was my first time trying PBL, and I absolutely loved it, hated it, shook my fists at it, got messy with it, but then sat back in awe as the student's metaphorical lightbulbs zapped on and off over and over and over and over again.  The connections were awesome.  Scroll to the bottom of plan to view actual student work examples.

If you build it, they will come.  A third grade science unit plan for Building Structures & Testing Strength.  It's nice to look at but sorry'll be hard to replicate as I don't have permission to distribute my main lesson plan resource.  I wish it was more practical for teachers in search of help but if you email me directly I might be able to hook you up! ;)

Year plans

I absolutely love the visual of this year plan format.   I purchased it from a very talented Traci Clausen at, where else?, TpT.  Here's the direct link: Year Planner: Back to School Curriculum Year Pacing Planner.  (And NOW it's available as a bundle!) I've used it with Junior/Senior high and now with split grade 3/4.

It is stuck right above my computer so I actually look at it daily and it is completely customized (Traci gives excellent instructions for inserting your own dates and subjects) for me and the 2015 school year.  I know you can't see much in the photo but if you open the photo as an image you can zoom in a bit and see that the grey vertical boxes are our days off and the larger blocks of colour correspond to the months.

Have I followed it to a tee, dutifully fulfilling each unit's timeline?

I wish...but I think it may need an electric shock prod and duct tape to do that, which would be far too difficult for Traci to supply!   But I do love having it printed in a four page spread above my desk computer. I actually look it at this way!  Although the default was excellent, once I waded through the very explicit instructions on how to customize it using Excel, I was thrilled at how specific I could make it.   

Here is the Google sheets version link (remember it's not as great as the Excel version but you'll get the jist just the same) 2014-2015 Year Plan At a Glance and here is the 20-odd page version which includes Alberta Ed Outcomes, Homeroom expectations etc.