As educators, we are constantly being encouraged to attend professional development and to learn and grow from sessions attended. However, more often than not, after attending a session that lingering question remains: how should one go about implementing the approach one has just learned about in one’s classroom? Although the supplemental resources that might have been provided may look amazing and inspiring, the reality is that they are not usually able to slide into one’s lessons quite as easily as one had hoped because a mental shift in how you deliver lessons must first be resolved. That said, although it may seem like a difficult task, weaving a new approach into one’s lessons can easily be done and all that is required is a slight adjustment to the planner one is using.
For the purpose of this article, let’s keep things simple and imagine that the planning template you are currently using looks a little something like the generic one below, which covers the basics – outcomes, lesson ideas and materials.
Now imagine that you have recently attended a workshop on a new approach to teaching reading, and it’s one that you would like to weave throughout your lessons across multiple subject areas. If one stuck to using the above template, one may remember to include elements of the approach in certain lessons, and one may flip through the provided materials and slide a worksheet or activity in here or there, but over time the commitment to follow the approach may wane as it becomes an afterthought when planning lessons. However, if one redesigns the template to include spaces to think about the approach, the elements that are included in it, and how to incorporate it into one’s lessons, it can change the way one’s lessons are delivered so that it matches the new approach learned consistently and across all subject areas, as shown below in the modified template.
In the simple addition of a column that requires one to name the approach, list the criteria of the approach in the form of a checklist and require one to explain how elements will be incorporated into one’s lessons, and suddenly the new approach is no longer an afterthought as there is a constant reminder that one needs to incorporate it into every lesson one teaches. This is but one way a reminder of a new approach could be woven into one’s lesson plans, although a checklist may not be the way you wish to go and this is fine. As long as you make an adjustment to your planner in some way that ensures you have incorporated the newly learned approach into your lessons, you will be well on your way to transforming your classes!
Attending professional development can have a major impact on how you deliver lessons, and learning about/incorporating new approaches into one’s planning doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Simply take a look at your current planning template and make a few adjustments to ensure you remain on track and consistent with the changes you’d like to make in your classroom!
Feel like you might need some extra support in modifying your planners to match the approach you would like to incorporate? Contact us, we are always happy to help!