How much time do you spend planning lessons?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by CrayolaCrayon, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. CrayolaCrayon

    CrayolaCrayon Companion

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    Sep 12, 2010

    I'm a first year teacher, teaching outside of the age group I received my education in, and I'm finding myself taking way too much time planning lessons. I'm causing myself stress and it's driving me a little nuts. I over analyze my every thought and decision while planning. I put ideas off because "it can go better in another unit" or something like that. I think things are too simple one minute and then too complicated the next. Some of this stems from thoughts of "What if..." I'm never satisfied! I can't just write it up, print it out, and hope for the best, knowing that if it doesn't work out I'll know for next time.

    I'm sure there are other teachers like me... Do you do this? How much time do you find yourself spending on lesson planning? Do you over analyze like I do? Any suggestions on how to know when to just stop?
     
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  3. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    I too am a first-year teacher. I feel like I'm not spending enough time planning, but everything has gone well so far. I only plan on the weekends -- I take an hour or two on Sunday afternoons and sit down and get everything done. Then on Monday during conference, I make all of my copies (or leave requests for the workroom assistant). I plan 2 or 3 weeks at a time, and in advance, so everything is all laid out for me in case I need a sub or something happens. On a day to day basis, I might switch two days, but I don't deviate much from what I've already planned.
     
  4. StudentTeach

    StudentTeach Comrade

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    I'm a first year (long term sub) and I find myself planning every day for at least an hour, usually two+. I have three preps. It's hard to just plan one day because things take more/less time or I'll discover they don't know something I assumed they did and I have to take the time to go over it. I'd love to just plan one day!
     
  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    I am a constant planner! I only write down one day at a time, but I know where I am headed - the unit is mapped out already and I know what activities I want to do and how I will assess in the end. I say I am a constant planner, because I am always changing my mind and tweaking things. I have a long commute, so sometimes I am even changing plans the morning of as I think of something else. I am also in a grade I didn't expect to teach, and a lot of my prep is content - learning the material myself!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've been teaching since 1980.

    I do the lion's share of my prep over the summer.

    At this point, lesson planning takes me no time at all; we're talking minutes... as long as it's a course I've taught in this millennium.

    If it's been a bit longer than that, it takes me a bit more time, but still nothing like the time a new teacher puts in. At this point in my career, if I still needed lots and lots of planning time, it would probably be a sign of a problem.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Aficionado

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    Oh, Aliceacc - that is so reassuring! I'm waiting for the day that I can relax more :) Last year I about killed myself planning. This year I'm in a cluster where we all follow pretty much the same plans so it is a lot easier. I'm still tweaking constantly though.
     
  8. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    When I was a 1st year teacher, I spend a LOT of time planning my lessons UNTIL it became more natural. Now, i write lessons down in my plan book and just teach lol
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It's something of a joke in my department. The only classes I haven't taught are 6th and 8th grade math.

    My first year after 6 years as a SAHM, one of the Precalc teachers went out on maternity leave. I can't begin to tell you how hard it is to find a Precalc teacher, particularly midyear.

    So, for 6 weeks, they bumped up from Math 7 (the only opening they had that year) to Precalc. They did it knowing it was no great hardship to me. (Finding a sub for Math 7 was a whole lot easier.) All I needed was the page number, room number, and a seating chart, and I was good to go.

    This isn't about patting myself on the back, merely a statment of what happens if you stick around long enough. You get to know the material so well that planning is a non-issue. You know which explanations will work, and what you'll use as your backup. AT that point, you get to really play with the material, and have fun with it.
     
  10. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I was just like you my first 2 years, especially in my first. I spend ENTIRE weekends planning. Now I just jot it down and go. It takes about 2 hours on a Sat, including finding resources
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I totally can't wait 'til I'm that good! Think of all the fun experimenting you could do. :D I am not lead teaching for a full week yet, so I am still planning individual lessons for different pieces of the day. I probably spend a good hour for each lesson.

    I'm being taught to plan backwards, so maybe this will help. Last year when I was volunteering and had no training, my lesson plans were totally activity based. This year we do essential questions, assessments, and then lessons. It's a lot of work but it makes sense.
     
  12. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Also, and I hate to admit this, but when I was doing my student teaching, I was REQUIRED to have a template to fill in for EVERY lesson I did. It sucked, it was tedious and I used to spend HOURS on the computer doing them BUT, it's 100% second nature now!
     
  13. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    I've been teaching seventh grade for sixteen years. Some units practically plan themselves because I've tried so many different things and I've found what works for me and what doesn't. This year our whole curriculum changed, so I have new units to plan. I find this to be very exciting, as I get to read a bunch of new books and get my creative juices flowing again.
    I plan with another seventh grade teacher, and we bounce ideas off of each other. We are constantly on the lookout for great ideas, but the actual sitting down and plugging info into our planbooks takes about one 40 minute period.
     
  14. teachinVA

    teachinVA Rookie

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    This is my second year and I feel like I plan a lot more at the beginning of the year until I get into a groove. I also have a lot more responsibility this year so I've been actually working harder than normal. Right now I plan for a week at a time in about an hour.
     
  15. jday129

    jday129 Comrade

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    This is my 8th year planning, but I've moved around to a lot of different grade levels and last year we got new curriculum so this is they first year that I am really doing anything that I have done before.
    I spend a lot of hours planning. 1 -2hours after school and extra time on weekends. I have a feeling that even at 30 years of teaching it will still take me a while b/c I differentiate so much that it takes time to think about each of my students needs.
     
  16. AMK

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    This is my 10th year teaching. The past 5 years I have saved my lesson plans on word so I just go in and tweak for each week. However we had a lot of changes this year - new math curriculum and block scheduling. I spent 3 hrs doing lesson plans last weekend. I am finished for September. Hopefully a few hrs every few weeks.
     
  17. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    I'm in year 6. It takes me maybe an hour, sometimes two if I'm changing stuff around. I teach 3 preps and we are required to submit our plans weekly so I'm doing a week at a time. This year I finally finally have 3 courses I've taught before so it's mostly copying and pasting from last year, with tweaks to the stuff that didn't work.

    The internet is your best friend when planning. There's very little you can teach that someone else hasn't already written a (usually way better) plan for. It's far faster to tweak to suit than it is to work from scratch.
     
  18. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Interesting to see some of the responses. Not sure if it's because of my situation but honestly planning & getting everything so that the whole week is plan is pretty challenging. I do have to keep in mind that I am in a new grade level but still have to do things in two languages which still requires translating (sign). I'm also teaching every subject so that also makes it time consuming.
     
  19. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Sep 12, 2010

    I spend a couple of hours on Sunday and plan the entire week.
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    If I wanted to I could just reuse everything from year to year. I like to mx things up though. So last year we did the Customs and Traditions of Islams as a Station's Activity. This year they'll be group research presentations.
     
  21. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    You'll get much faster. It's not really about the day-to-day lesson planning anymore. I follow the same basic pacing guide every year. I just change up the activities. Every year, I have my pacing guide on my desk, and I tweak the times it takes me to get through a unit. After 5 full years, I've pretty much got the pace down.

    For example, I know that it takes me about a month to teach my entire unit on space science. I change up the activities and assignments every year, but I know that by the end of September, I need to be done. Then it's on to rocks, then layers of the earth, then earthquakes and volcanoes. By then, it's usually nearing Christmas, and if I have a little extra time I can squeeze in some physical science. But after break I must start in with body systems so I can make it through plants by the end of the year.

    There are certain activities that I always do (some are famous by now!), and always new things that I want to try. Organizing these activities is what lesson planning is all about for me at this point.
     

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