Target Practice

dartboard_colorOne probably would not think that a 20 year veteran of the teaching profession would still be struggling with lesson planning.  But, I am. Not so much the actual construction and delivery of the plan itself; I got that cold.  On the other hand, my  current struggle is the method of documenting what I do, and how I do it.

I have used:

•Plan books provided by the school

•Plan books purchased by me

Planbook software by Hellmansoft – which I used for several years, and which, for the most part, I liked.  However, with all of the updates, some coming on a weekly basis, the need to set it up anew each school year, the incompatibility of the scheduling/class options with those of my place of employ, and features that I neither needed nor used, it became an expense which, in the end, didn’t pay for itself.  In fact, several years after purchasing the online version for $30.00, I was unable to update it for whatever reason, which led me to having to purchase the software again – for $30.00 – as a Mac application.   Additionally, customer service was sometimes wanting, due to it being a one-man operation run and maintained by a classroom teacher, which didn’t always work for me when I had issues and questions I needed answered sooner rather than later.

• Spriral notebooks

• Loose-leaf lined paper in notebook binders with tabs

•On-line Word docs

•Google Docs -which can operate rather sluggishly, and go down unexpectedly

•Elaborate lesson plan templates

•Elaborate lesson plan templates for foreign language in particular

A combination of a spiral notebook and Post-It Notes – which, on its face, seemed like the way to go, but actually turned into a logistical nightmare for me in terms of daily management, having to re-construct the pages every week, and financial outlay in terms of Post-It Notes, which over time could become expensive.  Also, the Post-It Notes simply did not provide me with enough space for the sort of information I typically record.  What was I thinking?!?

So, I am now back to using Word Docs, and maintaining the lesson plans in folders for each class on my desktop.  I simply type the class, the date, and the communication and culture goals for the day. I make sure that I include at least one activity for each skill – listening, speaking, reading and writing – as well as grammar, which is not only explicitly presented, but which is also embedded in one or more of the aforementioned skills.  I also try to include some sort of culture reference related to the unit/theme being studied, as well as a warm-up and closure activity.  This is the sort of information that cannot be recorded on a Post-It Note.  I teach an 85-minute block two days per week, and a 70-minute block one day per week.  I don’t have to worry about customer service issues, replenishing Post-It Notes, or the system going down, since a Word doc can be constructed off-line.

So, for now, I am satisfied.  On the other hand, I am contemplating Evernote, and was intrigued by this teacher’s experiences.

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2 thoughts on “Target Practice

  1. Although, I’m no longer a classroom teacher, I still struggle with organizing my notes and documents. I’ve used folders on my desktop, which worked out well, until I’ve been without my laptop and needed access to them.

    I’ve now started using Google Docs, which makes it easier to actually use my documents if I don’t have my personal computer since I can log in from any computer.

    Right now they are randomly organized, which doesn’t make it easy to use! I’ve heard of Evernote and actually tried using it for a few days. Maybe I need to give it another shot!!

    Hope you find something that works for you!

    • Hi, Jennifer.

      Thank you for stopping by, and leaving a comment. Much-appreciated. I guess I am becoming fatigued with Google. My place of employ is a Google school, and would like to break away from it a bit. Which is why I am tinkering around at the moment with Evernote. This may be my year to engage in a full-fledged experimental project with it. Perhaps for you as well?

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