As a teacher for the first seven years of my educational career, I slowly transitioned in how I got ready to teach my students. In the early stages, I did lots of planning. I looked ahead at the next lesson in my teacher edition, copied the objectives in my planner, and made sure I had enough materials for the number of students in my class.
These are not bad things. But I was only planning for outcomes when I should have been preparing for possibilities. Early on, the learning goal in mind was the right answers to my questions. Through experience, training, and reflection, I learned to help students come up with their own questions. Sometimes the answers had yet to be discovered.
I recently co-facilitated an iPad workshop for teachers in my district. We had an end in mind (integrating technology with curriculum and instruction), but the possibilities were almost endless. Instead of planning for a certain product from each learner, I prepared links to recommended tools, strong examples of connected classrooms, and time to consider open questions that led to deep thinking and discussions. In the end, every teacher had an specific idea in place to help their students take part in global conversations. These projects included joining the Global Read Aloud via Twitter, Skype, and Edmodo, hosting a classroom blog, developing a Google Site for student and parent communications, and facilitating digital portfolios via KidBlog. The planning shifted from teacher to learner.
This is my understanding of the difference between preparing and planning.
- How do you see preparing vs. planning in your present context?
- What tools do you use to facilitate design thinking for your students?
- Are there certain lesson plan formats that you find promote possibilities instead of just outcomes?
Comments are always welcome on this blog. I look forward to learning with you.