The second step to enjoy teaching is to thoughtfully plan instruction. At the beginning of the year, find your starting point. Then plan in broad strokes (long-range planning) and small strokes (daily lessons).
Starting Point – Consider your standards, your students, and your annual assessments to plan instruction. The standards provide a road map that describes where you’re going and what you’ll need to do along the way. Student assessment data help you figure out where to begin and how quickly to travel. Annual testing dates and requirements set your destination.
Broad Strokes – Make a year-long plan that includes all standards. Strategically organize units so they build from simplest to most complex. Consider prerequisite skills that may need to be added to your list of things to teach. Finally, create units of study that help students master each standard:
- Begin unit plans by unwrapping one or more standards.
- Continue by locating or creating a summative assessment.
- Find or create activities that will ensure mastery of the standard.
It’s unreasonable to think that one teacher can create units of study for every standard in one year. Work smart. Pull from textbooks and the Internet. Collaborate with other educators. Rewrite only those units that do not address the standards. Tackle only one unit at a time.
Small Strokes – Plan instruction with the end in mind. For each lesson, lead students carefully through the learning progression: direct instruction or inquiry, guided practice, independent practice, and assessment. Again, pull from resources you already have, those posted on the Internet, Pinterest, Teachers pay Teachers, etc.
Broad strokes establish the path; small strokes move us steadily toward the finish line. Click here to view a short video.
Some days it seems like I’m treading water, but with a clear instructional plan, I know I’ll get there.