Importance of Planning

When you take time to plan your classes, you and your students will see improvements in teaching and learning experiences.

Here are a few thinking prompts that can be useful in helping shape your plans for greater student engagement.

  • consider how your class fits within the whole course
    • help students see how each class is a piece of the learning and its connections to content, outcomes and anticipated learning
  • design learning experiences that will address key topics and content
    • focus on the big ideas or key understandings so students see each class as connected to the bigger picture
  • be on the look-out for current stories, videos, or special events related to your topic
    • learning becomes more relevant and meaningful when you can connect in real world activities
  • give students the knowledge and skills to be successful in completing assignments
    • provide students with clear expectations for all assignments and ensure you have exemplars or describe your criteria for success
  • be organized and know what is coming next in your class
    • research from students sharing what makes for an excellent teacher - always ranks organization near the top or often the # 1 characteristic they value!
  • manage the flow of your class
    • pacing and timing helps any class go well ensuring that enough time is spent on each item as related to its importance in the learning journey
  • provide varied and interesting learning opportunities for your students
    • universal design principles indicate that all students learn best when you have varied means and modes for students to engage in learning and demonstrate their understanding
  • accommodate special needs students by considering their requests/needs
    • most often a well-designed assignment or class can accommodate all students and their abilities and disabilities - seek to ensure your classes can be flexible for all learners
  • integrate technology effectively and prepare a back-up plan
    • use technology when it affords a benefit for teaching and learning, always have plan b and c in case technology isn't your friend some days
  • think through possible problems or challenges and be prepared for them
    • some of the most effective teachers anticipate learning challenges and hurdles and plan accordingly, as you gain more experience you will see these on the horizon and can circumvent them or let them be a valuable learning experience
  • pre-create questions and anticipate answers for effective discussions
    • even if you are an experienced teacher, creating your questions ahead of your class (and thinking about possible answers and areas where students may need a probe or a prompt) is an excellent way to plan your class
  • chunk content for your students to learn easier
    • learning is an overwhelming experience - the more you can chunk it into digestible bite sized pieces the easier it is for all to learn!
  • include time for student questions and feedback
    • often we plan lessons not putting in enough time for student questions (or providing questions for students to answer) - don't forget time to ask questions in small groups and then in the larger group helps students learn and gives you a chance to see how they are grasping new concepts and content
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