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Old 09-12-2010, 11:25 AM
CrayolaCrayon CrayolaCrayon is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 169
New York
How much time do you spend planning lessons?

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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Old 09-12-2010, 11:33 AM
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Mrs. Q Mrs. Q is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 518
Far East Texas :)
High School Teacher
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.
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:57 AM
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StudentTeach StudentTeach is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 432
New England
High School English
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!
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:29 PM
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MissScrimmage MissScrimmage is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,442
Literacy Coach
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!
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:09 PM
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Aliceacc Aliceacc is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 27,640
Math teacher
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.
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:42 PM
2ndTimeAround 2ndTimeAround is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,698
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.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:07 PM
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TeacherApr TeacherApr is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,256
Primary Elementary Teacher
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
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:08 PM
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Aliceacc Aliceacc is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 27,640
Math teacher
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.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:44 PM
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Pisces_Fish Pisces_Fish is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,738
North Carolina
2nd grade teacher
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
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:49 PM
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FourSquare FourSquare is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,468
7th Grade Special Education
I totally can't wait 'til I'm that good! Think of all the fun experimenting you could do. 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.
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