Aug 21, 2011

Planning

Planning
  "make preparations for an anticipated event or time."

I know how important it is to be planned and to be honest it hasn't been my strongest skill in teaching. Don't get me wrong, I've always been planned for a day and a week and most of time for the year but never the way I've wanted to. With my masters starting in the fall, I wanted to get a jump on this and have it complete. It always weighs on my shoulders in September & October, to then get done in less than a stellar way. Professionally, I feel like I've fallen short on the year planning. Well, this summer has been different! I'm taking the time, boy has it been a long time, and really focused on working through my year plan. Obviously I know this is a plan and it can be changed but it's always good to know where you've got to go.
In the past, I've spent a lot of time on my room, reorganizing, making it look inviting, etc, etc. I think it's so important to have an organized space, my new mantra - if you take it out, put it away and everything has a home. I'm working hard at trying to live by these mantras. Wish me luck!
As important as organizing and comfy spaces are, I think planning is just as important. As the definition above states, you plan for anticipation of an event or a time. School is definitely an event and a period of time in my life and the little ones I teach. This plan can change in a heartbeat but it's still important to have one.

I truly believe that your instruction needs to come from where your students' learning is but after saying this, there is something called the Alberta Curriculum that I am also mandated to teach. It's a HUGE document and it can be very daunting for anyone to try and figure out. I also don't believe in following a teaching resource from page one to page whatever, instead I think you need to have a variety of resources and ideas and combine them to create a great learning experience for students. You need to know what road you are on in order to be able to get off at anytime to do some exploration. A year plan is that road map.
Here's how I decided to tackle the daunting task. Did I forget to say that my plan is to have them handed in the first day of school (Aug 29th to be exact)? I'm so close but yet so far away. 
 Start with all the supplies you need, Post-It Notes, markers, planning binder, curriculum document, 2 calendars, and what you don't see are the resources used, but there are far too many to photograph (more will be shown when I show you my Writers Workshop plan).
I cut the first calendar but found a better way of taking off the coil. Cut the first and last coil then slowly unwind it. Poof! Easy!
 I then glued two sheets together to create a larger calendar. I need to be able to see the whole year and not just a month at a time, this is why you need to buy two calendars. They come from Costco.
 Here is the view on my table. I really like seeing the complete year.
I then highlighted the weekends and days away from school. I need to know which are full weeks and which are not to better plan. Next come the Post-It Notes. I assigned each subject area a different color. 
As you can see I start sticking away. A note is placed in an area on the calendar, it doesn't always mean it's going to stay there in the final version. The notes have very brief information on them. More will be written in my final draft. For my final draft, I will write in the exact assignment or topic on the lines and date. 
Here's what has been planned so far so you have a visual of what I am talking about. 
The next step was to go to school and look at all of the pieces of literature I have for Writers Workshop. I'm using Jennifer Jacobson's No More, I'm Done book as a basis for my writers workshop. I LOVED this book. You can see some more of my comments in an earlier post I did.
Books for Organization
Books for Ideas
Books for Word Choice
I've wanted to organize all the books I have by Trait for quite awhile but I'd never gotten down to doing it but this was the summer. I took my calendars laid them out in my room and started sorting away. I cross referenced with other 6 + 1 Trait books I already had and sorted the books onto each month or idea. This is what I came up with.
 I've added the Post-It Notes on the covers so that I can remember what my thinking was at the time and what the main idea of the book is. 
From here, these books will get organized into drawers labeled with the trait on them. I know this is a bit of a side note from planning for instruction but it was something I needed to do so that I could use the literature and match it up with the lesson I wanted to teach. I'm planning on using more literature than I did last year. 
This is where I've ended off. I've just about completed my Writing Workshop year plan. It's taken a couple of days but I know in the long run it will be worth the time I spent planning for it, even if I do go off course. 
I would love to know how you plan for your year. Please leave a comment so others can get some ideas. Sorry for the long post but I had a lot to share.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! This is SO AMAZING! I don't think I have the time to try this before the year starts just yet...maybe a simplier version. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Would you mind sharing your writing workshop for the year plan, including books you are using? I read the book "Of Primary Importance" this Summer and I have started out the year with Writer's Workshop, but I am just not "educated" on it to feel confident teaching it without some guidance. Maybe seeing your plan will help me with mine?? I would really appreciate it!

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Thank you very much for your comments.