Working the Plan

--Originally published at Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra 1

A month ago I described my rough, untested plans for structuring my classes and assignments for the not-yet-started school year. Wow...it's hard to believe that was a month ago! It was a few days before teachers started back to school and a couple of weeks before students started.

In that post, I described my ideas for the use of a Weekly Planner template by SlidesMania.

 

Students have been in school (in a hybrid format) for 2 weeks. We've had devices and in digital instruction for a week.

So...how's it going?

 

Short story: I like the planner.

Issues I've had:

Time: Creating the planner takes a lot of time. Linking to assignments takes a lot of time. Each class has its own unique link for an assignment in Google Classroom, so I create one planner, make copies of it, and then link individual assignments throughout the week.

When I can, I link directly to websites (like IXL and Quizlet). I'm considering linking directly to Google Forms instead of posting Google Forms as assignments. I would lose being able to look at an assignment in Google Classroom and quickly see who has or hasn't completed the Form, but it would save me a few links (and, believe me, they add up!)

Student Understanding of the Planner: I began "training" students with the planner from almost Day 1, before students had devices. The ones who understand the planner seem to like it (I need to ask for specific feedback). But others seem to be a little lost. I've explained the numbers above each day. I click through the numbers each day, mentioning "Activity 1," "Activity 2," etc. A couple of students admitted yesterday it took them a while to understand what the numbers were for. For funsies, today I put a picture of this week's planner on a Weekly Quick Check and asked, "How many activities are planned for Friday?" Several students missed the question.

Where do I go from here?

I continue using the planner. Students need more training. I need to find out exactly what the confusions are and address them. I think I'm going to do some warm-up-style activities about the planner.

I wait for the lightbulbs about how to streamline the creation process. I'm already doing a lot of copy-and-paste, so that's good, but I have a feeling I could be more efficient.

I still believe the planner was (and is) the way to go. I like that everything students need is in one place. It is a great vehicle for lesson organization when approximately half of my students are in my classroom with me and the other half are on the other side of a webcam. It will be a great vehicle for lesson organization if we are ever forced to be completely virtual. The planner continues to hold great potential, and I will continue to try to figure out how to best use it.

 

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