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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    Sep 12, 2010

    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 Aficionado

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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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    Sep 12, 2010

    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 Phenom

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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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    Sep 12, 2010

    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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    Sep 12, 2010

    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

    AMK Aficionado

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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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    Sep 13, 2010

    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.
     
  22. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I took about 2 hours tonight to do my week. I've taught third, fourth and fifth grade before, but not together. And not with the curriculum sets we have. It took me a while to figure out how to fit all my groups in, seeing as I'm teaching three grades of math with three different topics in an hour's worth of time.

    I have never before used the same plans two years in a row. And I never will with this school, as I will have the same students for three years. I envy those of you who have that luxury!
     
  23. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Honestly, I plan out units once or twice a month, but as far as super detailed plans go, I don't do it. I've tried in the past, but found we never really end up following the plans because I'll have a better activity idea later, or the kids need to work on something longer than anticipated, etc.

    So, I sketch outlines, and then decide on activities a day or two in advance.
     
  24. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I spend a long time...Probably 5-7 hours a week (usually all together on Sunday). I'm a 3rd year teacher and I'm always changing things. I'm trying a bunch of new stuff this year...I'm always thinking "There has to be a better way to do this." When I was planning yesterday I had about 8 resource books spread out across my desk!
     
  25. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Sep 13, 2010

    I'm in my 2nd year of third grade (after 2 years in 5th), but I feel almost like a 1st year teacher again. I changed they way I do reading and spelling, and we got a new math curriculum, so a lot of my plans don't carry over from last year. Plus, my group is VERY different (way above level last year, below to on-level this year), so a lot of things we were doing at this time last year they aren't ready for yet. I'm looking forward to a year where I don't feel like a first year teacher again...
     
  26. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Sep 13, 2010

    Third year teacher, at a brand new school, teaching multi-grades and various units, so I'm in a special place right now :) My first year of teaching I freaked out, second guessed EVERY THING I did, and made up lessons from scratch. Second year, I calmed myself down and just followed the curriculum units I was given (with small fun twists for the kids).

    This year, I didn't bother with a lot of the small details--- no special hand outs for the students at the beginning (they get lost or destroyed within the first week) and really I'm just playing it by ear. I plan as I need to--- like this weekend I did a special lab for Newton's First Law of Motion and spent 4-5 hours really doing a good lesson plan and lab report, updating the curriculum map, and researching for good sites to use.

    I would figure, based on my method, that you will probably spend 1 to 2 hours during the week days lesson planning, with a few more hours on Saturday and Sunday during your first year. Second year, if you do the same curriculum, will be less (minus grading time), and by third year you'll have your plans done (minus changes that you'll need to help specific groups and new ideas you want to throw in).

    Really this is my first year where I finally feel like I have my flow going and thank God that I do because this job is going to really test my organizational and focusing abilities :)
     
  27. madscientist

    madscientist New Member

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    Sep 14, 2010

    I agree, the first few years of teaching are pretty hard especially if you are creating lesson plans from scratch. After getting the hang of it you can figure out what works and what doesn't work. I have found Lessonopoly to be a great tool. I have used some of the lesson plans that they have and my students have enjoyed them. Lessonopoly has currently posted high quality lesson plans that come with videos. you can teach students the perpendicular velocity vectors behind football. You should check it out and you might be able to get inspired or find lesson plans that you apply in your own classroom. Hope you find this to be helpful. Good luck!
     
  28. SpringGirl14

    SpringGirl14 Rookie

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    Sep 14, 2010

    Can I ask when your school's first day was? I am student teaching as well, but this is only my third actual full day of class, second week though, but there was only school one day last week. Right now, it don't look like my coopearing teacher is anywhere near having me teach even one lesson. She just did her first review lesson today and we are still underway and organizing things.
     
  29. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 14, 2010

    Well I'm in a little different position because I'm in a year long teaching residency. I'm learning under a mentor in one classroom four days a week. I'm treated very much like a co-teacher, but I still call myself a student teacher because I am definitely a learner and I'm not fully certified yet.

    We also started August 9th. :) Good luck with your ST!
     

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