As I get ready to spend a day in professional development, it seems like a good time for this post. If you are like me, you hate missing a day – it breaks the rhythm of the classroom and, no matter who is in to cover for you, it’s just not the same as when you are there. While there is no substitute for you being there (pardon the pun), I have found a way to use our technology to at least help bridge the gap. Below I describe the two major alterations made to how I approach lesson planning and delivery while I am out.
In the one-to-one environment, it occurred to me that there is no reason why the lesson plan should be left for just the person in charge: why not speak directly to the students? On my team, we have folders where we share items digitally in Google Drive. When I am going to be out for a day, I write up the instructions and share them this way. At the start of class, each student is instructed to read through my message to them.
The nice thing about writing directly to the students is that you can include links to particular assignments, videos you might want them to observe, or any sort of material you need them to access.
In this example, my lesson for today, I open with some reminders about behavior and then list a clear agenda of what they need to accomplish. It starts with an instructional video which I tell them the substitute will play for the entire class. Just in case, I have included a link to that video so students can watch it individually if necessary. I then follow this with clear steps that they are to follow for the rest of the period. There are links to graphic organizers, documents for peer editing, etc. – everything they need for the period is right here, and students can work at their own individual pace.
Any time that I am out now, I include a survey for students to fill out at the end of class. It asks them how the class went – what did they accomplish? Was anyone particularly helpful to them while they were working? Was anyone distracting or impeding them from completing their work? This gives students a voice to recognize those who deserve recognition and give me feedback about what went well and what did not. It also allows me to come into class the next day ready to work, with a good understanding of what got done and what did not get done, and any students with whom I need to touch base.
if you would like to see examples of both my lesson plan for students and the survey I leave them at the end of the day, just click the pictures to go to those sites.