My mother was worried I’d never find true love, get married and move out; so when I got engaged, she began to plan the wedding of the century. Every detail was considered right down to who was going to drive what car from the church to the reception hall. Every flower, cookie, and bridesmaid was in place. Nothing was left to chance. The wedding went smoothly. People had a great time, and raved about how much fun they had. Meticulous planning eliminated stress and created many wonderful memories.
The fact is that if an event is important, planning is an essential ingredient needed to ensure success. Yet, we teachers sometimes dread planning and hope we can just “wing it.” However, our teaching lessons are important events and deserve to be planned well. We want our lessons to stick, to be engaging. We want our students to talk about the lessons long after the school year ends.
It is time for the second half of the school year to begin which means it’s time to reflect on our first semester. What went well, what didn’t, and where to we go from here? When we plan on a whim, jumping from one idea to the next, we get the feeling of, “Help! I’m wandering aimlessly all over the place, and I feel like my students are missing something”. When we feel that, we are lacking vision. Simply outlining a quarter, semester, or year can create a cohesive plan, ensuring the students are getting the skills they need.
We know that well planned lessons can help us teachers achieve:
- Student engagement and learning success
- Creation of smooth transitions (which ensures good use of time)
- Reduction in behavior problems
- Reduction of stress
- Enjoyment of teaching
- Creation of beauty
When my husband/partner and I created the Teacher’s Planning Partner book, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for teachers to plan cohesive, Common Core compliant units. We wanted to give teachers a template that allows teachers to maximize their creativity and exercise their autonomy. To create an effective planning template, we consulted experts in education at every level, from university professors to primary school experts. Based on this expert advice, our own teaching experience, and over a year of planning and creating the book, we blended the Common Core Standards into four units of learning for both math and English language arts. Also, kindergarten through eighth grade is aligned to simplify vertical planning.
We did the work so that you can plug in your creativity. Decide on your vision. How do you want your units to look? Do you use the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop program? Do you prefer a Project Based Learning approach? Our books give you the template; your creativity creates your vision. Do you want to feel excited about your teaching and share that excitement with your students? Then start planning to achieve your vision of successful learning.
If you want students to successfully learn and remember your lessons longer than a Kardashian wedding, take the time to plan your lessons well.