1. Next year I’ll have two preps a day. The classes I’ll teach will operate like electives [though they are required] in that they are a semester long. In the spring they’re the same classes, just different students. I’m excited about having such short classes, but I know I need to plan well to…
I use a 3 part lesson format for most of the subjects I teach. Minds on to begin, a short section to activate their schema, something that is connected to the lesson goal, get them thinking in the right direction. Middle is Action - students exploration of the topic, might be partner problem solving in math, might be reading a piece of text and having discussion questions with their group, might be an experiment in science. Then consolidation - the whole class comes back together to share what we’ve learned. Often I make an anchor chart with the important information. We share strategies, build on ideas, connect back to the Minds On portion. Then we might consider what comes next. Some of my lessons are 90 minutes long, so at this point I would give some independent work to practice what we’ve learned, but if you assign homework, this would be the same idea.
For the We’ve Got All Semester issue, I make long range plans that map out what I’m teaching, and when. It’s a requirement of our school board, so these are done in the fall for the whole year. So I have a plan of what exactly I’m teaching in all of the subjects (I’m a grade 6 teacher, and teach everything - reading, writing, oral, media, 5 strands of math, science, social studies, gym, health, drama, dance, visual arts and music). I can tweak my long range plans, but it gives me a good time line and helps me see how I can integrate different subjects - like teaching persuasive writing strategies with biodiversity, so the students can create a persuasive argument for their environmental issue.
I spent a lot of time this year organizing my unit plans and lesson plans. I’m pretty happy with them, and know it will make life so much easier next year. I can pull out the unit on electricity, look over the plan, tweak it for the students in front of me, and add new ideas, but I don’t have to start over.