A few years ago, I wrote an article outlining how a school could implement a flipped classroom approach in a consistent manner using a framework that I developed. The blog discussed how all the moving parts – mainstream teachers, specialists and support staff could come together as a whole and deliver a solid program; however, it didn’t delve into the specific types of planners that would be needed to support a flipped classroom approach. At the time, I felt that the flipped classroom approach would benefit from a program that would allow teachers to easily collaborate – enter our upcoming software ESBPlanners, and now it is absolutely possible to move an entire school in a cohesive direction!
To begin with, let’s take a look at the Flipped Classroom Framework that I had designed:
This framework shows how teachers teaching different subject areas can work together in implementing the school’s vision. It also illustrates how curriculums move from online/at-home learning to in-class learning in a differentiated/scaffolded manner, as depicted by the three-way symbols (square, arrow, circle) that link online/in class learning. For a more detailed description of how this would work see the following article: The Flipped Classroom Framework.
With this in mind comes the multi-subject unit planner below designed to allow teachers to implement this.
This template was designed using ESBPlanners, and with its “shared planner” feature would allow the classroom teacher, learning support teacher and language support teacher to plan using a single template. The classroom teacher would fill in the column to the left with planned online resources for at home learning and learning activities/assessments that would be given during class time to support the online lessons. Although the above only shows a single day, the unit planner would extend to the right in order to accommodate the amount of lessons that would be taught during the unit. Once the classroom teacher has completed their portion, they can share the planner with the support team who can then begin preparing differentiated/scaffolded online lessons and materials for their students, thus enabling the main objectives of the Flipped Classroom Framework to be realized.
While this ticks off all the boxes as to how lessons should be planned and delivered for a single subject area, another aspect of the framework is to have teachers teaching different subject areas looking for ways to connect to each other. This would be accomplished by allowing multiple teachers to plan their units on the same shared planner as shown below – purple is for subject area #1, green is for subject area #2 and the planner would extend downwards to accommodate the addition of more subjects.
Now imagine a grade-level team of teachers sitting down with this template during a team meeting. As they are unit planning for their respective areas, mainstream and specialists can be discussing ways they can connect with each other while the learning/language support staff can be thinking of ways to differentiate/scaffold for their students. When the meeting is over, teachers could continue planning on this shared document and then copy their relevant sections onto their own personal planners using our software’s capacity to easily transfer sections of a planner from one template to another, or our shared cell features which would allow a teacher to continue sharing information in real-time, but from their own private planning template.
Just think of the impact this would make on student learning if all the teachers at a school were following the outlined planning process for implementing a flipped classroom approach – the tight learning connections that could be made and all the support that learners with varying needs would get in accessing the curriculum! Wanting to implement the process at your school? The above flipped classroom unit planner will be available for use in the ESBPlanners template bank. Note that it has been kept very general so that you have the freedom to modify it to better suit your needs. Stay tuned for our software’s upcoming release!
With the many options for planning tools out there, why choose ESBPlanners? Because we respect and understand the unique needs of individual teachers. While other platforms try to fit teachers into a box by offering a few select templates to use as a starting point and minimal options to modify, we know that in reality each teacher has their own unique needs. Not everyone has their classes arranged on a 5-day schedule or a 2-day rotation – some teachers teach part-time, some teachers are specialists who might only teach a certain class to varying groups of students once or twice a week, some are language or learning support teachers whose schedules vary day to day. With this in mind, we aimed to create a user-friendly software that allows teachers to create custom planners based on their own needs and visions for their classrooms.
When creating planners using ESBPlanners, one begins with the option to modify an existing template we have developed or to design your own. If designing your own, you are taken to a blank page where you can easily add as many draggable rows and columns as you need. When inputting information into cells, you have the option to add custom content, images, videos, attach files, insert curriculum goals using our drop-down menu, create categories, customize your colours and more, giving you the ultimate power to create the tools you need to keep your yearly, unit and/or lesson plans in order and address the needs of any type of class you might be teaching – split-grade, multi-level, etc. And when you are finished with your design, simply enter a title name and tags to help you easily find and access your planner in the future.
If this isn’t enough, not only can you create customized planners for yourself, but in a team teaching or co-teaching situation, planners can easily be shared and worked on together in real-time with the option of adding notes, comments and sending notifications to alert others of changes made. Need hard copies to share? No problem, planners can be saved as PDFs and printed out.
If you are looking for the ultimate software to help you address your specific needs, ESBPlanners is the tool for you. ESBPlanners is coming soon, stay tuned for its release!
Wondering what other features ESBPlanners will offer and possible designs you can create? Check out the following articles:
ESBPlanners - Planning Tools for Educators
Creating Rubrics Using ESBPlanners
Collaborative Teaching Planning Tools - ESBPlanners
Creating a Hybrid Lesson Planner - ESBPlanners
Creating a 2-in-1 Planner Using ESBPlanners
Providing students with some form of “morning work” to start the day is a trend that a lot of teachers have jumped on, and I understand why it’s done. Warming students up with a few math questions, language related questions, or perhaps some word puzzle type activities is an easy way to set the tone and establish a routine – enter the classroom, take out your morning work, spend the first 15-20 minutes of the day completing it and then move on to the real lessons. While students are quietly completing their work, the teacher has a chance to take attendance and ensure that students are settled and able to hear morning announcements.
As an educator, I can appreciate the value of this routine for teachers; that said, I question the benefits for students if the work they are given isn’t relevant to anything else they are learning throughout the day. It’s very easy for teachers to simply go online, find pre-made “morning work” packages with different language or math related questions for every day of the week. Simply selecting a grade-level appropriate package doesn’t ensure there is any relevance to the units one is teaching in class, or that the students have the knowledge and skills to answer the questions. This leads to the set-out morning work taking longer than the 15–20-minute time allotted as a whole other lesson needs to given to explain how to get the answer(s). Additionally, these pre-made packages are often offered as a single set without any scaffolded/differentiated versions available, and as a result some students may whip through the work while others struggle. Lastly, if the morning work given has no real connection to anything else being taught throughout the day and if it doesn’t serve to help students achieve learning outcomes, it seems like the time could be better spent.
Providing morning work to students as part of a routine isn’t something that should be abandoned, simply re-thought. As teachers we must always question if what we are asking students to do is “busy work” or relevant to their learning. Although it may take a little more effort, taking the time to ensure that morning work given ties into curriculums taught and is scaffolded and/or differentiated to accommodate various learning needs will not only be establishing the routine for the day, but will also be helping students further their academic growth.