In prior articles I have talked about the need to link teacher planners together like puzzle pieces in order to be able to effectively form a cohesive teaching and learning culture at one’s school. This notion of linking planners stems from having created an educational framework that’s based on the philosophy, teaching methods, values and curriculums offered at your school - all from which the school’s framework and personalized teacher planners are then developed. If you haven’t already read our blogs on frameworks and individualized planners, here are a few to get you started:
What is an Educational Framework?
A Vision vs. an Educational Framework
The Power of Planners
Different Planning Solutions for Your School
Linking Teacher Planners: The Jigsaw Method
Bearing all of this in mind, after having designed the personalized planners for your school comes the inevitable question of how can I get my staff to easily connect and feed off of each other’s planners using existing software programs? You could go old school and have teachers print copies and place their planners next to each other while planning, or attempt to use programs like Google Docs that will allow multiple teachers to plan on a single document, but these aren’t really the easiest ways of accomplishing the task of team planning using the Jigsaw Method, which is why ESBPlanners software is being developed. Both its share planner and share cell features will easily allow your school to implement this method and have staff collaborating in no time.
Firstly, the hardest thing for teachers following the Jigsaw Method is to visually see how planners connect even after providing staff with the school’s educational framework as a reference. In order to solve this, ESBPlanners will allow staff members to collaborate on a shared document so when creating your individualized planners you may want to actually place multiple teachers’ planners on a single document and highlight which sections of each teacher’s planner will connect, as shown below.
As you can see, the mainstream and the Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) teachers' planners have been placed side by side, and the middle columns outlined in dark grey will bind the two planners together. In this scenario, the mainstream teacher will list key vocabulary and grammar concepts in the last column of their unit planner, which will then kick start the MFL teachers' planning as they copy over words and grammar concepts they would like to teach in the foreign language in the first column of their template. While this addresses a single subject area, the MFL teacher has the choice of which subject area they would like to connect to, including specialist subjects, so by placing multiple planning templates stacked on the left side, the MFL teacher can then pick and choose which one they would like to feed off of.
Now comes the fun part, the sharing features of ESBPlanners. There are multiple convenient ways for teachers to proceed with their planning.
Should a team of teachers have multiple staff members who need to connect to mainstream/specialist planners, they can also be added to this document to the right of the MFL teacher (shown in green).
And because of the nature of the draggable cells, during a meeting, both the MFL teacher and the Language Support staff members can move their planners around according to where they would like to tie in.
While the MFL teacher may not need to access updated information from the teacher/subject area they have chosen to connect with, the Language Support teacher will most likely want to have the most up-to-date versions because as we all know, unit and lesson plans can shift for a variety of reasons. In order to help with this, there are a few options:
In sharing a cell(s), the classroom teacher will be able to continue planning on their own personal document by “sending” the relevant cell(s) to the support staff member to insert in their planning template. As the classroom teacher is making changes, the shared cell(s) will be kept updated on the support staff member’s template so they are aware of what is happening in real time, thus eliminating the need for frequent in-person meetings.
These are but a few suggested ways that ESBPlanners can be used to assist in a school implementing the Jigsaw Method and ensure that a cohesive teaching and learning culture is solidly in place based on its educational framework. Interested in learning more and/or trialing out our software, contact us!