Back again with Blog Hoppin’ for Teacher Week. Today’s topic is organization! I can relate to Dee Dee Willis in her confession, “I am NOT organized by nature.” It took me several years of teaching to learn how to be organized. I was always looking for the perfect way to organize so I could be extra-efficient and save loads of time and work for myself! The problem was I couldn’t always get other people’s ideas to fit into my own routines or environment. After a lot of trial and error, I figured out a few tricks.
First of all, lesson plans…When I taught in the classroom full time I used one of those giant two-page weekly layout booklets with big empty boxes for each subjects. This worked well-enough because my lessons plans were brief and mostly in my head. When I moved into gifted resource, I was teaching multiple grade levels at the same time, so I needed something more specific to my structure. I created my own planning pages to outline my whole-group instruction, and differentiation plans.
IFG stands for “Instructional Focus Group” which basically means, ‘small groups for differentiation.’ Every year my schedule changed a bit; usually I was lucky enough to have 4/5 in the same room for a full 90 minutes. This year, I only had 4th grade for the first hour, and 5th for 90 minutes.
The “Slide 11” under the Group Activity section refers to my power point presentation. I had almost all of my instructional introductory content and correlated practice work on presentation slides for the kids to see. This took me a few years to develop, and I would modify it a bit every year, but holy cow, did I save A LOT of planning from one year to the next – mostly because if you’re teaching several subjects, or several grade levels at once, what are the chances you are going to remember how you presented it from year to year, or if your activities went well? This presentation made it easy for me to make modifications after a class period if something didn’t work well. Then it would be ready to go for the next school or year! Here’s a few examples: slides 11 and 13 are below. I taught two grade levels technically, but not all of my students were gifted, so I would plan 3 levels of practice activities some days (Red, Orange, & Green assignments below).
Slide 1: Table of Contents
Oh man, I’ve been spending so much time on math I forgot how fun Language Arts was!