Throughout my career I have attended numerous professional development sessions where the latest teaching strategies that were shared touched on play-based learning, inquiry-based learning, how to best teach reading and writing, etc. While I found the sessions informative, the how-to-implement part never seemed clear. And it wasn’t only me who walked away feeling confused, as I can recall having lengthy discussions with colleagues about how we were going to incorporate our new learnings into our classrooms. Reflecting on these events, I have come to realize that this is because sharing a strategy versus sharing a plan of action are two very different things, and talking about one without the other is where, in my opinion, many of the problems in education today stem from – a lack of direction when it comes time to execute.
In order to move forward with a solution to the problem, it is first important to clarify the difference between offering a strategy and offering a plan. If we look at the definitions of the two words in broad terms a “strategy” refers to an idea(s) one has for achieving a goal, whereas a “plan” refers to a detailed proposal or blueprint that outlines specific steps that will be taken alongside a timeline. And so when educators attend a session that explains why a teaching strategy is important, what it looks like in the classroom, and some ideas for incorporating it in the form of a list of things that could be done, it really doesn’t provide teachers with a clear path forward, as the road map to get from point A to point B is missing. This results in teachers moving in individual directions as each person carves out what they deem the best way forward.
The solution? Providing an educational framework and/or the planning tools that outline steps that need to be taken in order to implement the shared strategy with success. To learn more about an educational framework and the power of a planner, see the following articles:
What is an Educational Framework?
A Vision vs. an Educational Framework
The Tool Successful Companies Use That Schools Need
The Power of Planners
If we could learn to embrace both the sharing of strategies and the plans of actions necessary to achieve them in the field of education, imagine the transformations we could achieve as not only would teachers have knowledge of the latest and greatest methods that exist but they would also be empowered with the tools or plans of action to implement them. Interested in learning more about designing educational frameworks and planners to help achieve your goals? Contact us, we are happy to help!
We know planning for preschool and kindergarten classes can be challenging as it requires one to not only plan play centers but to also organize daily group activities, and this is why we created the weekly planning template below, which can be found on our upcoming software ESBPlanners.
As you will note in looking at the template, the first part of the planner is designed for preschool/kindergarten teachers to keep track of which theme is being covered and map out daily group and special activities, such as the ones related to upcoming holidays throughout the week. In addition to planning out learning activities, teachers can also keep track of outcomes being covered by using the drop-down menu that will allow teachers to select subject area curriculum goals and tick off the ones being addressed. Moving on to the second part of the planner, its purpose is to allow teachers to plan play centers that will be set up in the classroom as well as to keep track of which learning outcomes each area is designed to support. In using a planning template such as this, preschool and kindergarten teachers will easily be able to plan out their week on a single document.
The above planning template can be found on ESBPlanners by searching for “Preschool/Kindergarten”. And if it’s not quite set up the way you want, feel free to modify it as you see fit by changing the wording, reordering categories, changing colors, etc.! While this article touched on one of the hundreds of templates that are available, to learn more about ESBPlanners and its additional features, see the following articles:
ESBPlanners - Planning Tools for Educators
Teacher Organizational Tools
Collaborative Teaching Planning Tools
Planning Tools for Co-Teaching
Tracking Student Progress with ESBPlanners
Creating Rubrics Using ESBPlanners
While working at the Netherlands Inter-community School in Jakarta (currently Nord Anglia School), I was asked by the first principal that I worked under to run my classes so that students could complete units at their own pace. This meant that at any given time I had 5 or 6 different groups working on different learning activities simultaneously, while I rotated and offered support as needed.
When given this task, no planning tool was provided to me and so I had to think of the best way to organize myself and keep track of which students were working on what, which led to the creation of an individualized lesson planning template that would allow me to do so, as shown below.
At the time, I designed the template using Microsoft Word; the one above has been created using our upcoming software, ESBPlanners. With this planner a teacher can easily plan for multiple groups of students and keep track of learning outcomes met and materials needed for the lesson. Additionally, at the end of each lesson there’s space to jot notes about how each group did and where to head to the next lesson. As an added bonus and a feature that I wish I’d had back then, the “learning outcomes selector” allows one to select and keep track of learning outcomes met for each group through choosing relevant outcomes from a drop-down menu. While the planning template shows a single day, the planner can be extended vertically or horizontally by duplicating rows, thus eliminating the need to scroll back and forth between documents. It can also be saved as a PDF and/or printed if one prefers.
Interested in using this lesson planner to help you in delivering an individualized learning program? It will be available in ESBPlanners’ template bank and can be found by searching “individualized learning”. Use as is or modify as needed. Stay tuned for ESBPlanners release – coming soon!