In the previous article, the proof that personalized planners are necessary and do work was discussed, and examples from the fields of nutrition and fitness were explored. While it’s easy to see why individualizing planners is essential in the field of education, how does one go about doing so? And is it possible to play with your school’s existing planners without committing to an accompanying Educational Framework? Yes, of course, and we have provided the tips below!
1. Before Starting: Know Your Vision, Know Your Staff
This goes without saying … before you play around with the planners at your school, you need to know both the vision you have for your school and your staff inside and out. Take the time to talk with them about their strengths, weaknesses, and personal professional goals. Study their current unit plans and lesson planners. Visit their classrooms and chat with students. The more you know, the better informed your adjustments to your current planners so that they align with your vision.
2. Try Modifying Planners to Enhance Personal Growth
This is the easiest one to do, and all it involves is looking at completed staff planners that are already in use at your school. By looking at the planners, you should be able to discern which staff members have a complete understanding of how to fill them out, or not. For those that are showing in-depth knowledge, play around with their planners! Switch the order of the columns around, change the order of the rows, add new boxes to fill out … see what happens and explore new insights that are gained!
For further information see: How to Use Planners as a Tool for Mentoring Teachers
3. Experiment with Personalizing Planners Based on Split-Level and Multi-Level Classes
Split-level and multi-level classes are a reality for most schools, and yet staff members teaching those classes are given the same planners as everyone else. The question is why? It’s like everyone on staff following the Weight Watchers program or Atkins Diet being given the same meal plan. For teachers in those situations, take a look at the current planners in use at your school and see if there are ways to combine the different levels on to one single planner, as shown in the Modern Foreign Language planner below:
Instead of using single columns, each lesson is divided into three columns (levels) so that a teacher can easily differentiate between the abilities of students in the class.
View our articles on Multi-Level Planners and The Role of Planners in Curriculum Mapping for further inspiration!
4. Try Individualizing Planners Based on Subject Area
Mainstream teachers, specialist teachers, ELL (English Language Learning) teachers and Learning Support Staff all play different roles at your school and therefore have different end goals. When looking at your current planners, do they reflect the differences? For example, should your ELL and Learning Support Staff be required to fill in the same information as mainstream teachers or because they are supporting mainstream teachers, should their planners take a different approach, as shown below:
By differentiating columns on the planners, it is possible to provide personalized planners that help both the mainstream and ELL teachers perform their roles. As you can see in the above examples, the ELL teacher feeds off the information from the mainstream planner, and then creates a plan to support learning in the classroom based on a combination of both the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) and the IPC (International Primary Curriculum).
5. Take the Time to Review and Modify
Every so often, take the time to review the effects of the modifications you’ve made. Were the outcomes as expected? Are further adjustments needed? Are some teachers ready for an extra push? The beauty of planners is they need not remain constant, there is always room for exploration and growth!
Personalizing planners doesn’t have to be a complicated process and the benefits are tenfold for staff. Being able to support each teacher on their own personal learning journey is a truly empowering gift to give!
Wanting to learn more about how to individualize planners at your school? We can help!
The Power of Planners
Different Planning Solutions for Your School
Determining the Best Planning Solutions for Your School
Using Planners to Change Mindset