Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
This is so true in every facet of our lives and especially in the world of teaching.
Too often colleagues will act as if no planning is necessary. They will fly by the seat of their pants…...doing whatever hits them at the moment. This is a terrible way to work with kids. The better teacher needs to take time to purposefully plan and the best plan is developed with the big idea in mind.
As Stephen Covey said, “Start with the end in mind.” What is it that you want the kids to know? To get to this takes time to develop unit plans that are used to guide the teacher in working with the kids. These plans should contain at least the following six elements:
1. Essential Question (What is the point/purpose of this unit?)
2. Content Vocabulary (What words are necessary for understanding the subject?)
3. Formative Assessment (How do you know that the kids understand or get it?)
4. Engagement (What activities will you use to engage the kids in the lessons?)
5. Connections (How will you connect the topic to the real world?)
6. Use of Time (Are there any special considerations?)
It takes time to create lessons that engage kids and move them to learn and grow academically. The better teacher understands that planning and preparing leads to success in the classroom.
Bear Bryant once said, “It’s not the will to win that matters-everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”
Some excellent resources for developing plans and understanding why you should plan with the end in mind have been developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in Understanding By Design and Essential Questions.
(Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe)
Here is a link to an overview of UbD at grantwiggins.org
Here is a link to an overview of UbD at JayMctighe.com
Here is a link to the excerpt from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Example of a Frayer Model for learning words...
Example of a Unit Plan
Time to start planning…