Thursday, July 18, 2013

With K.I.S.S in mind, planning's no grind

Lesson Planning
Although summer is in high swelter mode, many teachers continue to create daily plans. During these lazy, hazy days, that has to be incredibly difficult- a feat that I was never tough enough to attempt. I salute you, my colleagues who accept this mission incredible.

Lately, though, social media status reports reveal that some teachers who chose to close their classroom doors in May/June, literally and figuratively, are being plagued by itches they just are not yet ready to scratch. What's causing this rash? The Lesson Plan Troll, bored and thirsty for attention, is tickling their brains.

My mind has fallen into a state of lethargy this week, resulting in brain freeze. Not coordinated enough to surf, even if I did live near an ocean, I decided to ride the waves of the Internet in an attempt to ignite my procrastinating writing muse. After a few clicks, I landed on a discussion posted in a LinkedIn group, The Teacher's Lounge.  The question,  "What are the top challenges teachers face when preparing for class?" hooked my yawning attention.

As I read the responses, I wondered, could I, clearly and concisely, put my planning philosophy into words? Clearly and concisely are the key components for this challenge, because although my book, The House of Comprehension- showcase the approach that I utilize-it's a book, not a blog post, a venue where should conserve my words.

After playing around with my basic ideas, I created this mnemonic device: Know Investigate Synthesize Submit.  Based on the widely-used Keep It Simple, Silly concept ( I detest the word, Stupid, which is usually used...but that's a whole other post), here is Connie's Planning Policy:

Unit Structure Chart
from The House of Comprehension (29)

First of all, with each and every lesson idea, PowerPoint and activity that I create, I must consider:
WHO I am teaching (visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners as well as specific student needs,
WHAT I am teaching (the material),
WHEN (time of year and following what specific lessons),
WHY (Objectives/goals: Common Core, Bloom's Taxonomy or other), and
HOW (Step by step plans: student-centered and teacher-directed).

All of these criteria fit into my K.I.S.S plan:
Know (Research, Explain, Apply, Discuss)-READ
Investigate (Discuss, Evaluate, Analyze, Rate)-DEAR
Synthesize  (Create, Hypothesize, Originate, Imagine,          Compose, Envision)-CHOICE
Submit  (Propose, Offer, Present)-POP

My goal is to inspire students to want READing to become DEAR to them so they will have CHOICES and their lives (in school and in the outside world) will POP.

These terms do not only apply just to what I want students to demonstrate through their writing, projects, tests, presentations, etc. during and at the end of a lesson or unit.  While composing a lesson, I must perform each action of the Verbs in the parentheses, too.

Why? To me, teaching is a road, one my students and I must travel together, with all of us moving in the same direction. If I want my students to fuel their brains with  K.I.S.S,  then I must energize my plans with High-Octane doses of it, too.

"What are the top challenges teachers face when preparing for class?"  I would love to read your ideas. Please share them here.

Happy Teaching,