Shy Town

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 03 2012

Paging Bella, the commenter:

Hey Bella you commented on one of my posts:

“FYI- while I understand that this LP is what is required at Institute, I just wanted you to know that it’s not sustainable in a regular classroom. I know several CMs that wish they had known that from the get-go.”

Can you elaborate? I’m really interested to know what part of the lesson plan isn’t sustainable? The three-read model, or the author series, etc.? Just curious, I’d love to know your thoughts!


7 Responses

  1. I think it really depends on your situation in the fall. If you have a curriculum, then you can take what you’ve learned from Institute and apply it to your curriculum. I didn’t have big, long lesson plans like the one for Snowy Day, but I did identify key points, read through the book myself, and identify where I would ask questions.

    Now, I teach five-year-old kindergarten but if you’re teaching three- or four-year-olds in a center you’re less likely to have a set curriculum. I think the ECE Pilot in Chicago has you use Creative Curriculum where you’ll have to go and pull outside resources to plan your lessons. Thus, I think a lot of what you’re doing at Institute will be very applicable to your placement.

    I agree with a lot of commenters that you’re going to feel pressured in the fall and you probably won’t have time to do something like this Snowy Day lesson plan. But, unlike many Institute placements, yours is very geared to your ultimate placement in Chicago. That’s important to remember!

  2. To make a bad analogy, a lot of the teacher training at Institute is like fast food – not all that good, but the thing that can be most consistently produced to an at least minimal level of quality by people without much training. In contrast, the Institute approach to lesson planning is like teaching someone to make red sauce starting with growing their own tomatoes and herbs.

  3. Bella

    While I agree with D in Dallas’ comment about the key points and assessment, that’s where I drew the line. I used to spend so much time planning every little detail of my lessons ( and I teach elementary school, so that’s a lot of planning time), that I had no life other than work. I was burning out quickly. When I asked some awesome veteran teachers for help, I streamlined my planning and still managed to get all the objectives covered.

    PS – I was turned on to the Madeline Hunter lesson plan model. It’s very similar to the TFA lesson plan model, only more concise. I he this explains my comment a little!

  4. D in Dallas

    Hey Olivia. I just finished my first year in Dallas and I’m going to partially agree with the above comments, but am also going to disagree. I planned all year similar to the way I did at Institute, but I NEVER created anything from scratch. In order to be an organized teacher I needed to know what key points my kids needed to know by the end of the class and a way to assess them to make sure they learned those key points so I ALWAYS had the key points, assessment part of my lesson plan. And I almost always came up with the key points on my own and then the assessment I took from various sources. I then took stuff from various websites such as tfanet or other random science websites that I knew were helpful. But, planning each week was an all-day Sunday task for me weekly… so it’s just what kind of teacher you are. I’m a planner. That’s how my class was run. That’s why my scores were great. But, maybe you are better suited to focus your time and energy in a different part of teaching that will get you to the same scores.. It’s all in your style of teaching. :)

  5. nonTFAtxteacher

    You won’t be using any of that in that Fall. Most school districts already have curriculums set for you that you have to follow. It’s good for you to keep motivated and inspired but that should already be in your heart. That is why you chose to be a teacher right?

  6. DC Chillin

    I’ll add on. NO ONE plans like that. Sometime in November I discovered After that planning was more like 1/2 hour to an hour every day. Take someone else’s materials, modify as required, and you’re good to go.

    You know how at Institute, you keep thinking, “I doesn’t have to be this hard?” It doesn’t.

  7. CY

    The intense amount of time spent planning. The vision setting. The exemplar responses. The intense behavior planning.

    You will likely stop doing these things when you start teaching for real in the fall.

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