Do you work at a school that encourages you to create your own planning templates? If so, simply searching on the Internet and buying a set of planning templates may seem like the ideal time-saving solution; however, before going down that road you may wish to consider that what you find may not meet your specific needs. Although more time consuming to begin with, you are probably better off creating template(s) of your own that take the following into consideration:
Does your planning template cover your basic needs? For example, does it provide space for noting:
Does the planning tool you design need fixed dates? If you teach thematic units or units that have set beginning and endpoints, then most likely yes. But what if you are following more of an inquiry-based or play-based philosophy? Is it necessary to create a fixed weekly or monthly template? If not, how will you address this?
Does your planning template accommodate multiple grade levels should you be teaching a split class? If not, how will you address this? By combining the two grades on a single template or creating a separate template for each one.
Does your planning template accommodate the multiple ability levels should you be teaching a multi-level class? If not, how will you address this? By combining differing levels on a single template or creating a separate template for each one.
Does your planning template include space to plan for students in your class who are on individualized learning plans or who may be learning at different paces? If not, how will you address their needs?
Does your planning template incorporate school values and prompt you to include them in your lessons? If not, how can you modify your planner so that it does?
Does your planner contain a checklist or reminders for classroom setup? For example, if you are following a philosophy that offers guidelines on how your room should look, do your planning tools reflect this?
If you choose to follow a transdisciplinary approach, does your template allow for multiple subject areas to be planned on a single document? Does it encourage you to think about making links between different subject areas? Does it allow for collaboration with other teachers?
If you are co-teaching, does your planning tool accommodate shared teaching? Is there space to write notes and observations so that both of you know how students are progressing?
Does your planning template follow a logical train of thought or are the items you wish to include on your planner listed in a haphazard manner? For example, if you placed “Materials” first and “Learning outcomes” second – does it make sense for you to list resources before knowing what your objectives for the lesson are?
As you can tell from the above checklist, designing the proper template to meet your classroom needs isn’t always a cut and dry case and there are many mitigating factors that can influence the design process. Feel like you may need some extra support? Contact us. We can help you in creating the ideal planning tools for your needs!