Lesson planning is taking me forever!!!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Mar 18, 2018

    I am student teaching now and writing lesson plans/making materials is taking me forever. I would say it takes me about four hours to just plan one lesson. My school doesn't have a curriculum so my mentor usually creates things on her own. She has resources that I can use, but she only has paper copies and I have to adapt and modify her resources. I have also been differentiating so for Monday's lesson, I made three different versions of something. Is this much time normal or am I doing something wrong? Please tell me it gets better! I'm worried for my first year because I'm only doing half the work as a studen teacher!!!
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Mar 18, 2018

    Not at all normal. In my district, we all collaborate within a team to deliver the same lessons. For instance, all the geometry teachers are teaching from the same WS and so are all of the pre-calc teachers, and so are all of the AP calc teachers etc. As such, for my team, each of us only need to plan out 1 week each month, and mostly it's just a matter of going into last year's files and making a few slight changes. Takes me maybe 1/2 hr to plan for a week within my sixth year. My first year it maybe took closer to 2-3 hours to plan for the week as I had to review the material and make sure I was good with how all the handouts were set up, but now it's a matter of print and go. The only thing that does take more time is creating new quizzes and tests, but again, we share that responsibility with other teachers teaching the same courses we do.
     
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  5. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  6. otterpop

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    Mar 18, 2018

    I think it's normal when you're first starting, but you'll figure out ways to shorten it as you develop your own routine and methods. Lesson planning currently takes me 30-60 minutes each week, and mine tend to be pretty detailed.

    You should not be writing three separate lesson plans if you're differentiating, unless it's a requirement for you. Pick one skill, plan your overall lesson, and then pick a way to extend it for the high kids and help the low kids.

    I think you teach math, correct? You might have everyone do one worksheet, but have a more challenging word problem to do when they finish that involves multiple steps, and then plan to pull your lowest kids to a table as they all get started on the worksheet. Or, have the high kids turn one of their math questions into a multistep word problem on their own.

    Also, if it makes it easier on you to purchase resources, don't feel guilty doing that. I know it might suck to pay $5 or so for materials every now and then, but a good product on teacherspayteachers can really save you some time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Does your college program require you to submit lengthy plans? Mine had this format we were required to follow and it would literally be 5-7 single spaced pages for a single lesson. Keep in mind this was elementary and I was doing at least 5 different lessons a day. We were repeatedly told that our plans had to be "detailed enough for a sub to teach." I can tell you that if a sub showed up to my room and found 35 pages of plans for one day, she would probably walk right back out the door. We were in charge of 100% of the teaching for a large chunk of time in my ST placement. Due to all of the paperwork and nonsense my college placement required, I found I actually worked significantly LESS my first "real" year than my ST year.

    I've used different formats over the years, but now my plans are mostly a bulleted list of activities I want to do for that lesson. Making materials can take some time if your school doesn't provide curriculum. This is actually the first year in my 8 years of teaching that I've had curriculum available to me. Although having the ready made materials is nice, I also often feel that I did a better job of teaching the objectives on my own.

    As you get more experience, you will also more readily have ideas and know what needs to be done for plans. It won't take you hours and hours to figure out how to teach a concept or how to differentiate.
     
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  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I don't actually have to write lesson plans, but the making materials is what I'm finding sooo time consuming. Today, I'm making three different classwork assignments to differentiate. It also takes me at least an hour to figure out how I actually want to teach a concept or a unit. If I had a curriculum, this part might have been easier but I do not. I'm so glad I don't have to write out lesson plans.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Differentiation should take so long. It should honestly be a really quick process. I mean.... I'm doing division of mixed numbers by fractions... even just something as simple as giving one group 4 1/2 divided by 3/4 while another group gets 4 3/4 divided by 3/4 goes a looooooooooong way towards keeping everybody engaged in meaningful work.
     
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  10. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    At the beginning of your teaching career it takes as long as it takes to plan lessons. But as you get more experienced and the more lesson plans you write, it will be quicker.
    As an experienced teacher it takes me about an hour per week to plan the weeks lessons.
     
  11. Camel13

    Camel13 Rookie

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    This encourages me too. This is my first year and it definitely takes me all weekend to plan each week. Then again I am the teacher with six preps and no cirriculum map to follow or co- teachers. I'm the only science teacher for 6-12th. Thankfully, I still love the planning process, just wish I had more time! I can't wait to just be perfecting next year!
     
  12. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Mar 19, 2018

    Waterfall's response pretty much sums it up. However, it does take some experience for one to become adept at differentiating instruction and figuring out how to teach concepts without having to stay up late into the night. The good news is that the basic task of setting up lesson plans is actually quite simple.

    I was fortunate to have good role models when I was student teaching and can still vividly recall watching one of my master/mentor/supervising teachers (5th grade) write her lesson plans for the next day. She would usually work on them: 1) when students were working independently, 2) while she at lunch in her room or 3) after students were dismissed at the end of the day. She used a commercial spiral-bound lesson plan book - the kind with rows and columns for several subjects and time blocks. (If you don't have access to one, you can easily make a digital template on your computer.) Each box contained just enough info to serve as a road map: topic, skill area or concept, page # in text, materials needed. Using the textbook and or the teacher's manual as references, she would simply update the info for the next day's lesson. Sometimes, she would even fill-in several day's worth of lesson plans in this way with the possibility of having to make minor adjustments according to students' needs. Her lesson plan book was always kept up to date making it so easy for a sub or a student teacher to use in a moment's notice. Since it was always left on her desk, she never had to worry even during an unexpected absence (e.g. sickness, car trouble, family emergency, etc.). Best of all, she could routinely prepare materials, meet with colleagues, etc. and leave for home within an hour after school was out.

    Nowadays, perhaps the only additional task for the teacher would be to write the day's objectives on the board. This too can be streamlined with a bit of pre-planning.

    Even if your principal requires full-blown daily lesson plans, this too can be simplified with the use of a customized template on your computer. You can access lists of perfectly-worded instructional objectives, common core standards, etc. that you're required to insert in your lesson plans. Simply cut and paste whatever you need and press print.

    You'll have figure out what works best for you. After using a lesson plan book, I eventually resorted to developing my own template so that I would have room to write a few brief notes to myself: names of kids needing extra help, target vocabulary, potential instructional problems. The key is not to insist on perfection. Instead, you should take a minimalist approach and just do the bare minimum to satisfy administrative expectations. Anything more will surely keep you busy for more hours than you would care to think about and will not earn you any brownie points! You can do it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  13. Belch

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    Mar 19, 2018

    It definitely gets better. Lesson plans are good because they require inexperienced teachers to think about what goes on in a classroom and why. Once you've had a few more years experience, it becomes second nature.

    I once worked at a JHS where teachers were expected to put in months to prepare for a single lesson plan. It's where future principals and head teachers have been groomed for decades. Some of the teachers had no time to go home some days, so they slept at the school because they stayed up so late preparing lesson plans.

    This might sound crazy to you, but understand that it is an experimental JHS where the best teachers in the prefecture are required to teach at in order to hone their craft and then share their experience once they have done their 2 to 4 years (I did 4) with teachers in other schools.

    After awhile, you'll be able to plan your lesson plan while walking from the teacher's lounge to your classroom. A colleague once described this to me as the "hand on the doorknob" technique.
     
  14. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    College lesson plans are much more detailed. They are basically a thematic unit!

    You need to plan for the high achievers, middle of the road, and those who need assistance. You need to plan for special needs and English Language Learners. So yeah, it looks like 3 different plans. My college lesson plans had no resemblance to the real teacher's plan books. In reality, you can actually make small notes in those tiny rectangles once you get your own classroom. I'm not sure, but things may be online now.

    I teach Pre-K/Head Start, and we use Teaching Strategies Gold/The Creative Curriculum. In a pinch, I would write out a lesson plan on their paper form. But I have to enter it online and it is very drawn out and detailed with this system. Actually, it does most of the work for you, but the preschool teacher is supposed to have more creativity and less ready-made work. So the pre-printed game cards are great, but I am supposed to make my own games. Honestly, when I am overwhelmed, I will write out a simple lesson plan and claim the website was down. Nobody argues with me. As long as I post/hand in a lesson plan, everybody is happy

    Once you have a plan, and get a great grade - leave it alone. You see what works, don't reinvent the wheel. Make a sub plan for emergencies and it will be so basic anyone can follow it. That is the whole idea. An administrator should be able to come in your room, point to today's date, and know in an instant what they are doing, with whom, what textbooks, and what materials should be ready to use. Some districts require the exact state goals that will be met. That does require more writing.
     
  15. tchr4vr

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