I have been meaning to write about planning for a while, as it is something that I have strong opinions about. I read a post recently by David Didau (@learningspy) that articulates my feelings very well and I urge you to read it. I will not repeat what he says, but will summarise my own views here. They are based on my experiences from my own practice and from different schools I have supported. My opinions are not necessarily shared by the people I work with.
So what does effective planning look like?
Different for different teachers is my answer. So why do we all try to use the same forms? After 11 years of teaching in mainstream, I have finally created a maths plan that works well for me. I plan sparsely. Completing weekly maths plans to hand in the week before you teach is not efficient use of time. Effective teaching happens when you reflect on prior learning and plan for progression. I know what I want to teach/cover for the week ahead , but may only have planned activities for Monday and Tuesday. I need to see how they go before I think about the rest of the week. This is how I approach a lot of my teaching. I can't plan too far ahead, it muddles me. I don't want to be thinking about next week, I want to be living the present time. That doesn't mean I don't have a long term plan, it means that my ideas beyond the week I am teaching are merely titles like 'collage work, non-fiction projects, multiplication'. It looks like this
I approach most of the rest of the curriculum through mantle of the expert or enquiry approach. This means that although I know where we are going in terms of the main objectives and outcomes (and some of the dramatic conventions we will use), I don't always know the learning route. Quite often the children will share ideas that inspire me to take a new direction - a better direction than I had come up with myself ! Instead of spending hours and hours writing plans that I will never read, let alone follow, I spend the time thinking about getting the best from my children, the resources I will need and reflecting on the lessons that have finished. This is what I enjoy doing, what motivates me and what I would rather spend my energy on. My plans are paper based, minamilist mind maps.
This works for me. My plans are for me, no-one else.