As a teacher of 27 years, one problem, of many, facing teachers has been the amount of time it takes to create lessons. There is no magic wand to make this process painless, but there is a way to make lesson planning and creating more efficient. Our current Covid, pandemic reality has exacerbated this issue. Now is the time to find the routines that will allow for quicker planning, increased engagement, and stickier learning for students.
In the fall of 2019, I returned to the classroom after being a teacher on special assignment for eight years. I faced new standards, new textbook adoptions, at a new school site. I was creating everything new without an onsite support system. Then March 13th happened! Within a couple of hours, my students were packed up and out the door with their belongings. Little did we know that it would be our last day face to face.
Our transition to distance learning/crisis learning was rather smooth based on the fact that I had been implementing the EduProtocols from Jon Corippo and Marlena Hebern. Not only were my students flexible in their use of technology and the EduProtocols, but planning and lesson creating began to follow a workable routine.
“Planning the perfect week” became an effective routine for my students’ academic success and my sanity in planning and creating content.
Step #1: Identify your routines
You may not even be aware of the routines you actually have when it comes to planning. Take a few minutes to reflect on your planning. I noticed a few commonalities in the planning of a concept/unit/week. I started to chunk the material into more manageable tasks. You will notice that I reference many EduProtocols. These will be explained in more detail through a series of blog posts. Here is a link to my first iteration of this process.
Students appreciated the routines established and the familiarity of the EduProtocols. Because they had their interactions with the EduProtocols scaffolded, they were able to apply the cognitive skills with higher level materials/content as the year progressed.
Step #2: Consider the “flow”
I found myself planning a week at a time by breaking apart Hyperdocs. Hyperdocs are powerful tools that allow a teacher to plan a whole cycle of learning by identifying the moving parts into a routine streamlined planning process. The 5 E model: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate work well when planning, pacing, and delivering content rich lessons that allow for student choice.
After modeling the 5 E model or other iterations, my students became content creators for each other! Towards the end of the year, students self-selected topics, with parameters, and moved from consumers to creators! They felt empowered and thoroughly enjoyed making lessons for each other.
There are a variety of templates for Hyperdocs that can help ease the planning and creating time.
Step #3: Leverage Templates
Stop thinking that you need to change up the graphic organizer every time you use it. Stop “making it pretty.” I am a self-proclaimed font snob and pretty preso maker! Let the kids make the slides eye-catching. Make use of the slide master in Google Slides to grab some fonts and layouts that always work. Please consider the visual needs of students when making font and color choices. That super cute font may not be readable by some of your students. Your color scheme may look appealing on your screen, but once on a display, it goes awry. There are many EduProtocol templates ready to implement…make a copy and go! Check them out at www.eduprotocols.com
Step #4: Get Organized
I don’t know about you, but my Google Drive is a hot mess. I created a spreadsheet with my EduProtocol templates so they were ready-to-access. Make a copy, rename, and you are up and running.
For distance learning, I plan and post the whole week. I created a simple template in Google Slides. I adapt the colors and bitmojis for the season/holiday. Every week looks the same: slide with links, FYI, weekly tasks, ELA, Math, Science or Social Studies. Links on the Weekly Planner go directly to the assignment in Google Classroom. It takes a few weeks to get kids trained, but then the rest of the year will go smoothly!
I honestly don’t know how I would be surviving our current situation without leveraging the power in the EduProtocols. Not only have they saved me hours, they have made me a more effective teacher. My students are more effective and engaged learners. They are learning how to learn…acquiring knowledge through routines, practice, and feedback.
Looking for more lesson design support? Get access to proven protocols, customizable templates, and interactive support at Untamed Learning. Click here to learn more!
As an educator for 27 years, Kim has been an innovator in and out of the classroom. Kim incorporates best practices including WICOR, UDL, ELL. She believes in identifying learning objectives FIRST and then applying technology. Literacy in all content areas is the goal…and literacy must include new media. Kim strives to meet teachers where they are and move forward. In the classroom, Kim weaves pedagogy and technology in meaningful ways. Kim is an adjunct professor for Hope International University and serves as the CUE BOLD Director.