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Am I the only one?
Old 03-16-2008, 07:47 AM
 
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Am I the only teacher who is not always 100% planned/prepared each day? I don't mean that I have no clue what I'm doing or that I even really have to think about what we'll do next...I always know, but it's not written down.

I'm just wondering because I hear so many teachers stressing about having "all their planning done," whereas I don't really worry too much about it. I might make some brief notes, almost more like reminders to myself. Maybe I've noticed this because all the other teachers on my team are younger than me and have been teaching only a few years - at that point I worried a lot more too. I guess over the years it becomes easier...this is my thirteenth year teaching.

Wanted to see if I've become lazy or if this is normal?


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Old 03-16-2008, 08:38 AM
 
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Hee Hee!! I fly by the seat of my pants every day

Glad to see I'm not the only person who's not always fully prepared! I wish I could be one of those teachers that has everything ready to go the week before. I've tried, but I just can't do it!

It's my 11th year teaching.
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:35 AM
 
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Fourth year teaching and I don't write down my lesson plans. I make a list, like you, of things I don't want to forget to do, but that is it.

I swear, if I had to work in a district that required one to write down their lesson plans, I'd quit!

Having said that, I do mentally plan how I am going to do certain lessons. I just don't write my entire day down on paper.
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I have to write it down.
Old 03-16-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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I've taught for 17 years, and I still have to write everything down. As I write things down, I make sure that all the copies I need are ready and that all the materials are available. I work in a district that expects your lesson plans to be written. They don't ask you to turn them in, but when they come in your room, they need to be able to look at your lesson plans. We also have to keep a list of our standards with the lesson plans. We check them off as we teach them.
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Its my 11th year
Old 03-16-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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and have just started flying by the seat of my pants,,,,,I'm not sure but I feel much better as a teacher doing it this way,,,,it seems like I can focus on the kids needs faster,,,changinf plans as I see the need...(I hope I made sense)


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Lesson Journaling.. :-)
Old 03-16-2008, 10:26 AM
 
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Our district "requires" that we write lesson plans.. I have a tendency to teach the lesson, then write down what I did (my principal told me once, it supposed to be PLANNING, not JOURNALING!).

However, I agree, I know what I'm doing.. and if it doesn't work I like the flexibility of switching horses in midstream and going another route to get it across...

I had a colleague who used to say, "It's a pi$$ poor teacher who can't teach a lesson without a book or a lesson plan." I like to live by that motto...
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dear lord, no
Old 03-16-2008, 10:27 AM
 
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this is my 15th year....and i do a lot of what i've done in previous years.... i like to be totally prepared because i get stressed if i have to come in knowing i've got X number of things to do. especially with unexpected phone calls and emails and MEETINGS!!!

but i've found that the more i get done, the more i realize there is to DO. i can NEVER get it all done---and those rare times i feel "caught up" i am behind within an hour--that's so frustrating!

i work a lot on the weekend just to get ready so i'm not running around like crazy. i usually fall back on: what HAS to get done for tomorrow. (sometimes what HAS to get done before lunch)?

one of these days.....
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24 years....
Old 03-16-2008, 11:05 AM
 
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...and I still write down what I plan to do. I plan a week at a time, usually Thursday nights. I enjoy making my lesson plans flow and seem effortless, and I put a lot of effort into tweaking and improving them each year. I retired last year but even that last year I was trying to improve on the lessons of the year before.

After school I look at my week's plan and make a day plan for tomorrow, which I clip on my front board in a magnet (otherwise I'd lose it). I need to know that I'm totally ready for tomorrow before I leave. Having said that I have no problem taking the teachable moment and being flexible, I can always put what I missed into tomorrows plan.

I also make notes on my plan as to what worked/didn't work/might work better in another order, what story perfectly illustrated the point, timing etc. I read those notes the next year when I'm making my new plans and in that way hope I improved my lessons each year, but don't have to re-invent the wheel if a lesson went really well.

The great teacher next door to me makes a simple point form outline of her day in much, much less detail, but I would never suggest she's not wonderful - she is. She is an early bird, and comes in 90 minutes early to make sure her day is ready. I come to life more slowly in the morning, so I come in just before the morning bell, since everything is already ready. We are both good teachers, with long lists of parents wanting their child in our rooms....we just have different methods. I would never say that either of us "wing it".

Our principal expects to see evidence of our planning on her frequent casual visits, and on formal evaluations, she'll request the plan book. She doesn't expect us to plan the same, just to plan. She says " if you fail to plan you plan to fail. "
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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I work in a district where we are required to keep plan books. We're all also supposed to write in the plan books which state standards we are meeting with our lessons...I'm not so good at that last part I always make sure that I pencil in my plans, I like to be able to go back after and make sure that my plan book reflects what I really touched upon. Sometimes you really need that room for flexibility...doesn't always go as you have it scripted...
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:56 AM
 
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I am a first year teacher, so I usually try to have everything I need ready for the day, but it is HARD!! We also have to put our standards for each subject in our weekly plans and turn them into our principal on Fridays before we leave! If it weren't for my team, I would have never made it through this year!


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I have to have it written down!
Old 03-16-2008, 12:53 PM
 
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This is my second year teaching, but because of my personality I feel that even after 20 years I will plan it all out! I have to be organized and feel prepared or I am stressed. I also hate having a long transition time because I feel this gives the kids time to "get into trouble" They take this as a chance to talk and it takes forever to get them back!

My district requires that we turn in our plans the monday morning of the week that the plans are for...so I try to do my plans on Wednesday but it usually ends up being Thursday or Friday before they are finished.
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A goal of mine
Old 03-16-2008, 01:11 PM
 
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I am in my 3rd year of teaching and I struggle with this...I definitely fly by the seat of my pants. In some way, I think it is good because I am flexible and change according to the needs of my students. On the other hand, I don't believe I get as much done in a day/week because I don't have everything I need to do written down. My goal is to write down my daily plans and have my week ready to go the week before. In order to help me out a little, I am ordering 5 magazine files (from Lakeshore) and will put each day's materials in them. Who knows...
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I need to have my week planned out...
Old 03-16-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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but I don't read my plans during the day. I make a list of things to accomplish each day. I like the piece of mind that my plans are complete and everything is organized in case I can't come in one day during the week, or the principal drops by unannounced!
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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I don't make plans..I have a sketch on my book but most of my great ideas come in the middle of the night. or on the way to school, etc. I know where I am headed for the week so I guess on Fridays before I leave I make a my sketch outline but nothing final..We have to turn our plans in on Friday as we leave for what we did...so I write it down after the day or end of week. Thank goodness or VP got smart and realized our plans change so much that they thought it would be better after

But I only teach 1 subject 5 times...if I still taught Elem. I think I would have to write a little more down so I can keep focused
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Plans
Old 03-16-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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I have to have everything written down. I have gotten much better at it. I plan with a coworker who teaches the same subjects. We sit at the computer and fill in our plans, then email them. We each them print out our own and we are ready to go!
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Requirement.
Old 03-16-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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It is a requirement in my county to have your plan book up to date and on your desk during school hours. I oblige. I fill in my little squares with what I may do during the week. However, by Tuesday my plan book is pretty much of no use to me. I change my mind so much during the week, especially this time of year with testing in three weeks.

It is only a plan. Plans change. I plan to teach those things, but I may see a need to change and teach something else, use a different type of assessment, or assign something different. Besides that, if my students show an unexpected interest in something, I am very flexible about going with their interests and enthusiasm. Sometimes what you thought would take two days could take three or four days. Sometimes they struggle more than you expected with certain concepts. Sometimes they surprise you and "get" something right away.

I could teach with no plan book now that I've been in the same position for a few years. I do like the idea that I can use it to cover my rump though. It can serve as documentation that you taught what you are required to teach.
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Great Question!
Old 03-16-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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During my first 5-7 years of teaching I never was able to keep up with planning. I ate, breathed and dreamed school, so at any given moment I knew exactly what I was going to do.

Then I began team teaching. That required planning with another person, so it became part of my routine.

Fast forward 10 years and my plans have become my obsession. I usually pencil them in on Wednesday and Thursday for the following week, then type them on Thursday or Friday. They are usually thorough and neat. I have to share my plans with our special ed. and remedial reading teacher, so they have become my method of communication with them. I keep the previous year's binder to refer to on occasion. They use to take me hours, but I can write and type them in about an hour now.

Suzanne
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Old 03-16-2008, 03:54 PM
 
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I don't make plans ahead of time... I have a general idea for the week and know what I want to cover, but rarely do I write anything down... when crunch time comes, like the last week before a break or the end of the school year when there is a lot going on, I will write down plans or goals. I think of things on my drive to school, in bed the night before, etc. I also go to school on Sunday and plan ahead by making copies, etc. In terms of HOW I will teach a lesson, it's mostly in my head. I think of things a lot before I do them, but a lot of it is on a whim, in that I will explain it as I see the kids needs.
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lesson plans
Old 03-16-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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We HAVE to have our lesson plans completed and turned in by Monday morning each week. They are just PLANS though. Sometimes when I'm in the shower I'll have a lightbulb moment of a great activity or lesson so I go with it. Other times I change the plans right before school or midstream because I see it's not working or I find something else that does work. Also, there are those moments when you are following the plans and a student asks a question or does something that leads to a fantastic teachable moment that you just cannot plan for - so yes, sometimes you have to just "go with the flow."
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somewhere in between....
Old 03-16-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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This is my 4th year and the first year we've been required to show our lesson plans each week. They have to be on our desks Monday AM to be checked by the principal or AP. I like writing down sketches/plans more consistently because I do feel that (for me) it keeps me focused. However, I'm not one of these people who always has everything prepared ahead of time because I do still tend to think of something the day before (or the day after) that isn't in my plans. However, like I said, my plans aren't detailed on Monday--they're just the standards and the essentials. I do pencil in extra info as the week goes along, so it does end up as more of a record keeping situation. Prior to this year, I'd start out with super detailed plans and end up flying by the seat of my pants before the end of the 2nd grading period!

It's interesting to see how different, yet effective, we all are!!!
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Planned, Not Perfectly
Old 03-16-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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I have been teaching 33 years. I always have two or three days planned at a time (with the exception of maybe 10 days in 33 years). What I am not so good about is having the copies ready. I go in early every morning, so I usually run down to the machine to copy whatever wasn't done. Also, sometimes the night before in Teachers' File Box, etc. (that I subscribe to) , I may find something to bring in the next day to copy. I try new things every year in addition to my favorite repeats. My plans are very easy for a sub to follow but not extremely detailed. I really need to have it all written down in a week format so I can see the Grand Scheme of things for the week and draw those arrows to the next day if there's something I didn't get to. I had tried making up my own lesson plan sheets that show only the day in front of me, but that wasn't working for me, plus it was more to copy. So the planner with the little boxes works better even though you need to write some of the same schedule every day. Now this weekend I did not get any planning done (rare), but I will be there early to fill in at least tomorrow's plans and work on the next two days during prep and after school. I just was completely exhausted this weekend.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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We are also required to have lesson plans completed and on our desk. I do as I'm told and hope that if the principal ever comes into check that she will be able to find the planbook under the pile that always accumulates on top of it!

I do like to write my plans though. it helps me get ready for the week, sort of like going over the lessons iin my mind before I teach them. I also write them to be sub friendly. A sub should be able to look at my plans and complete each lesson as I include materials needed and page numbers.
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in the middle
Old 03-16-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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I teach first grade. I usually plan a day or 2 at a time and do lots of winging it. I almost always have any copies made and ready,but don't always use them. I love it when I realize a better way (better than a worksheet) to show understanding. Each group is different, I have a general year long plan for concepts covered in math and reading and do what ever I need to to reach those kiddos in a way that works for them. I understand each teacher may take a different road to the same destination.

So, I would say you are not lazy, you are normal.It's my 13th year as well. When you have been doing it this long, there is sometimes no need for "plans". I personally find them restrictive and dampen my creativity. BUT, to each his or her own!! Do what works for you.
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No!
Old 03-16-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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It's my 7th year and I rarely write down anything. I should do more, but for the most part, I do fine with my wing it style!
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I am extremely picky
Old 03-17-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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I am so picky about my plans. If I don't have everything written down and my copies made for the week, I feel so unorganized. I have taught for 16 years and I am getting pickier by the year. I have my copies in daily trays in the order that I need them for the day. I try to make my copies for two-three weeks ahead. I may not know exactly which day I want to do something three weeks in advance, but I know WHAT I want to do, so I go ahead and copy it. I like being able to get to school in the mornings and glance at my plans, look in my tray for the day, and be ready to teach. That being said, I still like to be one of the first teachers at school, just in case I need to change something.
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I am required to give them to the Principal!
Old 03-18-2008, 02:38 PM
 
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I never had to turn in lesson plans to the principal in the ten years I have been teaching.....BUT this year I moved to a new school and we are required to turn them in. YUCK!! Why can't we be treated like the professionals!
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question
Old 03-19-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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How did you retire after only 24 years?
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isn't it funny...
Old 03-21-2008, 05:52 AM
 
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how different we all are--some of us totally comfortable with "flying by the seat of our pants" and others feeling "stressed" if the day isn't completely planned ahead of time (I confess, I fall more into that category!). I think it's remarkable that such different personality types can all be caring and dedicated and effective teachers. In the end, it's a good thing that there is such a range, as we all know that there is certainly such a range within our students!
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style
Old 03-21-2008, 06:06 AM
 
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I think there are definitely different teaching styles - and I am NOT one to not have plans ready! I write out plans and make copies several days before needed - that's just me. I get stressed if I have to do something at the last minute. The downside to that is how teachers tend to have to "wing it" when assemblies, fire drills, etc... happen - I have a tougher time handling that than the other teachers (like you).

I guess there is good and bad to each type of teacher! Either is normal in my book.........just different.
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:49 PM
 
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This is my 24th year. I plan, but nothing like I used to. We are required to have lesson plans on our desk if we are observed. I use a lot of children's books to teach, so that takes some advanced planning to get materials ready. I am glad that I have relaxed a bit about lesson plans. Now, if only, I could stay caught up grading papers.
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Lesson Plan Layout
Old 03-25-2008, 09:48 AM
 
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Does anyone have a copy of the layout you for your lesson plans? If so could you please post them or email it to me. I am currently trying to find a better way to get my lesson plans down.
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Here's my template
Old 03-25-2008, 09:51 AM
 
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Here's what I use. I made it using tables on Microsoft Word. Hope it helps.
Suzanne
Attached Files
File Type: doc Plan Book 2007-2008.doc (82.0 KB, 57 views)
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Written plans...
Old 03-25-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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but subject to change if I come up with something that I believe would work better to get across the lesson. My principal requires that plans be emailed to him Sunday evenings or turned into him on Monday mornings. Additionally, a copy has to be sent or turned into our school secretary...this is so they have some idea what you might be doing if you have an emergency.

I always had to have lesson plans on file so its never bothered me to have to do so. This year its been a big help to me because of the changes in our state standards. New material to cover - went from Geography to World History - so I'm having to learn it as we go too!

PS - Suzanne: I like your lesson plans tho' they wouldn't work for 7th grade!
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