My first year of teaching, I tried to use the paper plan book that I was given at the start of the year. I recently went back and looked at that to see that it lasted for a mere five weeks. For the remainder of the year, I used a SMART Notebook file to create a weekly slide that showed our agenda and plans for in-class lessons and assignments.
Initially, that was how I started planning, last year. However, SMART Notebook files take awhile to open. I didn’t like having to wait for this (in hindsight, I should have saved them as PDF’s for easy viewing). It was at this same time last year that our staff was asked to make Google Sites for our classes. Loving technology, I immediately jumped on this task. My first project was to create an announcement page that updated every week with the new agenda. I used this to lesson plan and thought it was pretty cool, because I would then be able to easily go back the following year and see what we did each week.
But, do lesson plans always stay the same, for the week? Ha! I soon found myself so busy that I wasn’t updating the website during the week, if a change occurred. I already posted a daily report with homework details, and figured that was suitable.
This summer, before my third year of teaching, I increased my PLN by jumping into conversations with many math teachers on twitter. It was through reading this blog post, by I Speak Math, that I established a whole new method for lesson planning, summed up here:
“Now, I’m all electronic when I plan. I made a Google Spreadsheet that lists the date, lesson, homework, and any important links the students will need. I love this way of giving homework, because then students can easily find the links I want them to access.” – Julie Reulbach
The best part, all changes I make during the week automatically update on our class website/blog! Plus, students can click on the ‘All Assignments’ tab and find information on work that they may still be missing.
It was great to see students, the first week of school, already going to the website and using the electronic links to complete their textbook assignment early. A few came into class on Thursday, having already completed the assignment that was going to be given. I do not mind this at all. What are your thoughts? Do you allow students to work ahead? I did caution them to regularly check, because plans do change.
Do you use an electronic system for lesson planning, one that has lasted for more than one year? This may be the answer for me, but then again, I seem to have the knack for continual change.