A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lesson Plans

The lesson plans I've received from a teacher going on maternity leave next week confirm a belief that I have held for a long time.  The best teachers I've seen have mostly been primary teachers.  Kindergarten students enter school around the age of 5 knowing virtually nothing about school.  Every procedure, every expected behavior, every learning skill, even snapping the tops on markers, or twisting the orange part of the glue bottle rather than unscrewing the white part must be anticipated.  The 18 page detailed plans I received describe the most well-thought out system for inviting students into our schools that I've ever encountered.  They cover a period of the first 2 weeks and beyond.  The first weeks happen to be the most critical period in the school year.  Her plans could form the skeleton for a book, a book that would sell!

No wonder it has taken me 3-4 days to wrap myself around her plans, and I'm still wrestling with her plans.  Every resource is listed.  Every teaching procedure is described. Her plan describes the order and sequence of how to teach and practice using materials and proper behaviors to get multiple learning centers up an running "the kindergarten way".  Need the right music and rules for quiet time, she has it in her plans.  Everything has its place.  Activities are in kits, and are rolled out according to a logical sequence.  The teacher talk in these plans is highly explicit, everything is planned for, which explains why the teacher I am covering for has enjoyed well above grade level end-of-year assessments in her classroom. I've been translating her plans into Outlook, so that my daily schedule will synch to my PDA computer.  I've and added some lesson planning features that I learned from reading Lucy Caulkins and John Van de Walle, because I teach best when I have great plans.  I've been at this mostly all day.  It's tough, very tough.  Details, details, details.  But it's doable.