For the past two weeks I’ve been researching and reflecting on lesson plans. RES tradition is that all teachers submit them to the principal on a weekly basis. I’ve not taught at a school where lesson plan submission was required. However, in Henrico County, they were moving this year to requiring some sort of lesson plan turn in for all teachers. I think it can be helpful, for me as an instructional leader, to have easy access to a greater level of detail. It keeps me abreast of the latest content and delivery style, and also gives me the opportunity to share back information that may be helpful to strengthen a teacher’s craft.
Below is a portion of an email I sent to the RES family this morning. I thought – why not show the world as well. You need to know how hard our teachers work every single day to be planned for every child.
Positives to detailed lesson plan writing:
- From a supervisor standpoint, seeing lesson plans allows me to know you are doing your job – planning properly for your class, following the curriculum, integrating proper resources, adjusting for individual differences, using the latest research.
- It allows me as an instructional leader to get a feel for strengths and areas to improve – as a whole staff and in working with teachers individually.
- It makes sure your room is always prepared for a substitute for unexpected absences.
- It makes you continuously reflect and change. To write things down requires purposeful thought – looking at how the class or a student is doing – and then making a course of action.
Negatives to detailed lesson plan writing (and submitting)
- It is time consuming – both for you to write and for me to read.
- It is outdated the moment the students walk in the classroom on Monday.
- It can sometimes be hard to capture on paper.
- It gives a clear picture that “big brother is watching”
I want to find a happy medium between the negatives and positives. Written lesson plans are without a doubt necessary. Turned in or not you have got to get the next week planned out – pulling from the global level of content and curriculum timing, down to the specific student detail level. Having it written allows you to know what resources you need to have ready for the day (supplies, volunteers, books, technology, etc.).
My plans this year with lesson plans:
- For the first few weeks I will look at all lesson plans to get a sense of your style, setup, and resource use. Comments and questions will be global.
- I will then switch into focusing on specific subjects, delving a little deeper on glancing at the SOLs and your specific curriculum as well as how you convey the content.
- I will also switch to an unpublished rotation – not delving deep into everyone’s lesson plans each week as that would take to much time away from other student supportive activities I’m involved with.
What I need from you:
- Send plans by Sunday night or before. I’ll be glancing on Monday mornings early to get a feel for the week.
- At the top of your lesson plan email (which has them attached, a link to a google doc, or notification of the copy in my box) put down something you might like me to see to celebrate or to get feedback on. If my calendar is open – I’ll block it and come. Understand of course that unexpected fun hits and I’ll send you a courtesy apology email if I get sidetracked.
- Set up a meeting with me if after a few weeks my expectations are unclear or overwhelming. I’m not set in stone on this yet as this is my first time with such a responsibility.
- Don’t over polish for me. It’s about instruction for each kid, not about spending time to make something pretty for my behalf. If something is missing, I’ll ask for it.