How do you start planning for a new year?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ms.irene, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Jun 3, 2013

    Hello! I just landed a new job for next year teaching high school French (and possibly ELD, fingers still crossed!) in a traditional public high school after three years teaching for an online charter. It has been an interesting experience and I have learned a lot, but I am also looking forward to having a physical classroom again! One of the (many!) things I know I can do better than I did in my last traditional classroom is in planning ahead for instruction. Having learned from past mistakes and now going into a new school with a new curriculum, I want to plan ahead as much as possible so I don't end up behind later on. Can you please share your approach or any tips for how to jump in and start planning for a semester ahead of time?

    To add some detail on my particular situation and the challenges it will entail, I will have mixed-level classes (French 1/2 and 2/3) as well as a rotating block schedule (three 50-minute periods and one 120-minute period per week, per class). I have taught in both kinds of arrangements before and am even more aware of the need for careful planning! Any suggestions on how to begin would be much appreciated!
     
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  3. ATwainedTeacher

    ATwainedTeacher Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Hello! I'm kind of a newbie to teaching (this past year was my first year), but I think that gives me a little more recent experience in the area of being totally terrified the summer before while trying to plan. Then again, other, more experienced individuals can probably give you a lot more advice.

    I'm an English teacher, and I hardly used my textbook this past year, but one of the first things I did was take an inventory of what resources I had on hand. So, make sure you ask your principal for a copy of your textbook if you have one and any other resources that will be available to you.

    Also, of course, become very familiar with your state guidelines. Just reading over them again before I start each planning of a unit usually gives me more of a clear vision for what I want to do.

    My school's website has county-wide pacing guides that you can download, and while I didn't stick to them completely this year (they were too literature heavy), they were my jumping off point for my first semester. Everyone else in the county started off with short stories, so that's what I did. As I became more comfortable as the year progressed, I strayed somewhat, but it was invaluable to me at the beginning. It's a good place to start with in planning your first unit, which I usually just jot down a rough outline of in my "lesson plan notebook."

    After that, I came up with a pattern for my daily instrunctional plans. For example, mine goes: introductory set or warm-up exercise, instruction, guided practice, and then informal assessment. Some days it will be a little mixed, for both my and my classroom's interest, but having a pattern helped me tremendously when "jumping in." Also, I have a weekly pattern. For example, I did vocabulary as part of my bellwork exercises every Monday morning. Freewrite was Friday's bellwork. And so on. I don't know if everyone keeps a pattern like this, but it kept me sane this year.

    Hope this helps! That's basically the process I went by this past year to begin my planning. I also had resources in other teachers that had taught my grade level before, but if you're the only French teacher at your school, that might not be possible.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Here's our process for planning.

    • Look at the standards for the grade level.
    • Divide the standards into units for the entire year.
    • Write student-friendly learning targets by week.
    • Schedule dates for weekly formative and unit summative assessments.
    • Create assessments.
    • Plan out the class period. (warm up, instruction, guided practice, independent work)
    • Plan the activities for each day/week.
     
  5. ATwainedTeacher

    ATwainedTeacher Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2013

    Yeah, this is a lot more succinct (yet more informative) way of saying the process I was taught.
     

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