Every teacher has used a lesson plan at some stage in their career (even if it was just while you were being assessed) but very few teachers have a teaching plan for the coming year where they identify 2 or 3 main areas and that they need to improve in and then do everything they can to learn and implement their learning.
There are 3 areas that every teacher should include in their teaching plan:
1. Classroom Management
As a teacher your goal shouldn’t just be compliance (sit down, shut up and do your work) it should be engagement although compliance is a great place to start! You could have the best lesson plan and the most interesting content but it all means nothing if you can’t get and keep your students settled.
There are some simple but effective techniques you can use to settle your classes, just search through some of the categories on this blog or sign up for the free classroom management eBook by putting in your name and email address in the form on the right hand side of this page for some ideas.
Some of my classroom management goals:
- Have the students settled within five minutes
- One student talks at a time. Each student respects what the others say and have an attitude that they can learn from anyone
- My student’s behaviour will be just as good at the end of a lesson as the start
Overall you need to be aware that your class will have a culture of being compliant or not. If the culture of your students is one of misbehaviour you will have a hard time changing it but if you set some realistic goals and consistently work towards them you can succeed.
2. Student Engagement and Motivation
Studies have shown that if a student is engaged in their work they will be up to 40% more productive. I love this statistic and have found it to be true. What this means for me in my classroom is that if my students are motivated and engaged in their work my classroom management problems decrease and I am able to get through the work more quickly. This then frees me up to allow the students to use strategies such as 20% time to engage in learning they feel is more meaningful and relevant. For more ideas on 20% time and student engagement check out this post.
Some of my student engagement goals:
- Each student will contribute during group work
- Each student will try and solve the problem or find the answer before asking for help
- Each student will come to class prepared and ready to learn
3. Co-ordinated Approach to Technology Integration
We need to understand that technology in and of itself is not engaging. Technology isn’t a reward for good behaviour; it is a learning tool that enables our students to learn via a different model. If this is the case then we need to find programs that are built on the principles of motivation and allow learning to take place (typing up an assignment or creating a PowerPoint slideshow doesn’t fulfil these criteria).
Next week I will demonstrate a number of different programs that I recommend you use in your classrooms. In the meantime, you can check out this series of posts showing you how to teach your students how to get the most out of Google Search.
Some of my technology goals:
- Teach the students to increase their creativity by using the full functionality of a program not just the most obvious features.
- Use Google Docs in more lessons. Google Docs is great for real-time collaboration and immediate feedback
- Encourage my students to work on their online collaboration skills (The ability to work with other people in an online environment is one of the most valuable skills our students will need when they leave school)
Obviously, your teaching plan will have goals in other areas but in my opinion, these three areas underpin all your other efforts. If you aren’t succeeding in your classroom management, student engagement, and use of technology you are behind the eight ball before you start.