BIG PICTURE PLANNING IN EDUCATION
There’s an old saying that goes along the lines of “can’t see the forest for the trees,” and to me it sums up one of the major issues teachers face when planning, and this stems from schools emphasizing one’s lesson plans and not one’s yearly planners. When I think back on all the schools I have worked at throughout my career, only one comes to mind where I was actually asked to submit my yearly plans for review; a few asked for my unit plans but for the most part, it was my lessons plans that were of the utmost importance. To me, this seems rather backwards as one can’t be sure that the lessons being taught, as amazing as they seem, are of any relevance to the curriculum as a whole. With that said, I would argue that big picture planning is the way to go in education for the following reasons.
When the focus is on big picture planning at a school and yearly planners are placed at the forefront, teachers can map out a path ahead for the year. In doing so, staff get a clear idea of how many weeks they have to cover each unit or concept should they follow more of an inquiry-based approach. Planning for the year in detail across all subject areas also allows teachers to see where they can make connections between different subjects and to meet with specialist teachers, learning support staff and the ELL team to see how they can support what is being covered in their classes. Developing a clear and well-thought-out plan for the year also allows teachers the flexibility to readjust and recalculate throughout the year when creating their unit plans should one unit/inquiry either go over the allotted time or finish faster with the confidence that they will still be able to teach all required outcomes before the end of the school year. And finally, when it comes down to the lesson planning, teachers can be assured that whatever is being taught on a particular day serves to meet the big picture and is helping to achieve the end goals set out in the yearly planners.
While encouraging teachers to focus on the forest may seem like a big ask as it requires teachers to produce several sets of documents for review beginning with the yearly planners, it doesn’t have to be. With our upcoming software, ESBPlanners, staff can have several documents open at once and easily copy and paste information between them, making it a breeze to create unit and lesson planners that coincide with one’s yearly planners! Stay tuned for its release in 2022!
Have you recently made the change to focusing on big picture thinking at your school? What changes have you witnessed? We’d love to hear them!
Leave a Reply.
The Education Blog
About Christina Shala
Have a Question?