Smart Planning Tips
Every teacher plans and organises themselves differently. I try to keep myself as organised as possible in order to minimise the amount of work that needs to go into planning and to make my planning work as effectively as possible for me.
My long-term plans are all stored in one folder. Each subject has its own section and contains aims & objectives, approaches & methodologies, assessment, resources and a broad overview of content organised by term.
Aims and Objectives:
This section gives details of exactly what will be covered in the subject area. It lays out the aims of what you wish the children to achieve throughout the course of the year. The aims and objectives section generally has a lot of curriculum content included in it as the National Curriculum is the blue print of this section.
Approaches and methodologies:
In this section there should be detailed information about how you will approach the teaching of the content, discussed in the previous section, and the teaching methodologies you will practice to help the children in your class achieve the curriculum objectives.
The assessment section should include details of all the forms of assessment you intend to use within each curriculum area and where any assessment evidence can be found.
It is sometimes useful to catalogue a list of resources which are available to you for each curriculum area. This will ensure that you will make the most of the resources you have and you will also be able to see if there are any important resources that you are missing.
Overview of content:
The final part of each of my subjects long term planning is a yearly overview of the content that will be covered. Some teachers plan this section by term, or maybe by half terms, however I find it easier to break it into monthly blocks. I will make a note of how many school weeks will fall in each month and I am able to, more accurately, work out exactly what I am likely to get covered in that month. It is also the most helpful way for me to plan as I teach a new topic each month and its easier for me to make cross curricular links to SESE, art etc by planning monthly.
For each subject I will choose a topic(s) for a month, I will list some of the strands that will be covered, the strands units and the main learning objectives. Where it might be appropriate I will also include cross curricular links.
Like all planning documents, I will annotate my long term plans to reflect areas that didn’t get covered in time, or at all, need to be revisited, just didn’t work etc and can be tweaked and edited for the following year.
I approach the school year in terms of topics and I teach a new topic each month. Each topic is broken into two fortnightly plans (you can download the template I use for my fortnightly plans in our resource store here).
Each new month/topic is stored in a lever arch folder. I keep copies of all my planning, resources, activities, displays etc. in this folder, so when the time comes for me to do the topic again I have a huge bank of materials all ready to go. As a result, each year I can build on what I already have, improve my resources and create new activities for the children.
All of my resources for each topic (plans, activities, books, displays, Aistear materials, props etc) are stored in a storage box and clearly labelled, ready to be used again.
I try to have extra stations around my room to keep the infants busy and engaged throughout the day, but planning for these can be time-consuming. I use these filling folders to store the activities. I try to change each of the stations once a week and have them linked to current topics where possible. When the activity is finished I file it in the correct slot/month so next year it’s ready to be pulled out & used again. Similarly to my main planning, if this is done once there is no need to redo it, and having a solid bank to start with leaves more time to add to the ideas and improve current ones.