Sunday, August 12, 2012

6th Grade Reading/Language Arts Lesson Plans...What template works for you?

Today I REALLY feel like I spent far TOO much time trying to re-invent the wheel.  For whatever reason, I got into my mind that my format for lesson plans is insufficient.  That they should look different, be in concise boxes, somehow cuter than what I have utilized for the last 5-10 years.

Each week in my school building we are asked to submit our lesson plans in order for title staff, intervention specialists, etc. to be able to see the work that is occurring in the general classroom setting, so they are able to support students in the most effective way possible.  Makes sense that if someone working with one of my 6th graders sees my lesson plans, they will know exactly what learning is taking place within my classroom and they can work to meet student needs.

I have long given up the handwritten model of lesson plans, but I have kept those smudged, penciled-in archives that I struggle to part with at every end of the year "clean out."  I am a "pitcher/thrower-outer" by nature, but something about all of that time and effort forces me to keep them around.  I love to show them to student observers, so they can see what planning looked like before help from Word and the internet.  I laugh at the thought of all of that laborious effort each week. 

I feel like I scavenged the internet with Google searches and  played around on Microsoft Publisher trying to create the PERFECT template.  Then I realized that just like each entry on my blog, I have far too much I need to get down for the words to fit into a pre-sized box.  Some weeks my plans are 4-5 pages long.  I find that I need to almost narrate what I am going to teach and how I will teach it within my weekly lesson plans, so that I implement my lessons most effectively.

I have shared my plans for the first three days of the school year.  Keep in mind that after this first week standards will be listed, assessment tools will be shared, reading and writing notebooks will be awaiting student thoughts and notes, and data analysis will be taking place.  All of that essential information will also need to be included into my plans for weekly meetings.  I will get to that before my new plans are due the following Wednesday.

For now, however, I will accept that the time I spent today was not necessarily wasted, but instead it just reinforced that the template that I have been using for lesson plans is the one that is most fitting for me.  Sometimes it is fun to think about how something can be jazzed up, "cutesified", and re-invigorated, but sometimes it is OK to accept and keep utilizing what is working the best.

If you have a moment to take from your planning, I would love to hear/see what planning template/strategy works best for you.  Good luck as you embark on your first lesson plans of the school year.

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