My favorite tech guru, Marcee Harris, wrote an informative blog on digital lesson planning a year or so ago. I recently reread it because the topic seemed rather applicable in our ever changing educational landscape. As I perused Marcee’s post, I panicked for educators. You know…a quick wave of nausea, slightly sweaty palms, and an increased heart rate…and I am not even the one doing the work!
In the spring, teachers were writing one set of lesson plans for distance learning. Sure, it was new and different, but educators figured it out like educators do. BUT NOW teachers are writing lesson plans for students who may be in person all of the time, in person some of the time, or learning from home. Three times the lesson planning effort, and likely no additional planning time. But then I asked myself, “Can digital lesson planning make this task easier?” With that question in mind, I decided to give it a shot.
I took Marcee’s fantastic custom digital lesson plan template from the initial blog she wrote. Then, I created my own daily version which I called “an instructional day in the life of a teacher in 2020”. This daily template can be copied for educator use. (Click on File>Make a copy>Entire presentation) I focused on grade one, but these templates can be customized for any grade level and/or subject area.
Watch this video for examples of how the template can be used:
As I worked, I had a few “aha” moments.
- Just because students may be in different places does not mean they have to do different things. In my math example, every student completes the problem of the day, watches the intro video, and does the same formative assessment. The only activity that is different is stations (at school) and practice (at home). The social studies example uses a live class meeting to ensure all learners hear the introduction to an upcoming project at home and in class. I know educators will find other creative ways to organize teaching and learning regardless of the crazy schedules to be managed this year.
- It is important to learn about and use tech tools. There are many tech tools that can encourage creativity, increase collaboration, and improve communication with families, etc. I included the use of SeeSaw, Google Docs, and Epic in my “day in the life of” plan. Want to learn more about tools? Check out Course 5093: Digital Tools in the Connected Classroom.
- Using themes or connecting topics between content areas makes planning easier. Plus, doing this ensures students hear vocabulary words more often and in different contexts. It provides more opportunity for practice with new ideas as well. Many activities can cross subject lines like research which has been woven into the daily plan in multiple subjects.
- Hyperdocs can be used by students at home or at school, and they can increase student independence. Creating Hyperdocs can also make personalization and differentiation easier. I’ve included an example Hyperdoc for Math in my template.
- The use of multi-media should be used to in all teaching and learning. By increasing the types of media and amount of media used in lessons, educators can increase engagement and provide access to content for all in different formats. Teachers should challenge themselves to include more video, podcasts, or even content from the social media platforms students frequently use. A great engagement strategy for learners!
- Collaboration is key. Colleagues should consider the many ways to collaborate with fellow teachers. Could one of teacher develop lessons for math and science, and the other develop lessons for reading and social studies? Maybe a department could split lesson planning work up by unit or theme. Avoid recreating the wheel and save time by working together.
So, teachers, take a few deep breaths, trust yourself, and do your best. Give digital lesson planning a try, and remember, Teaching Channel believes in you.