The Together Teacher: Chapter 7 Automate: Planning for Planning

9:40 PM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

We are in week seven of our book study of The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin.


I have to say that this should be a MUST read for all new teachers, but even me, after ten and a half years of teaching, I am learning some amazing new tricks.

Our goals are to:
1) prepare for the week to come
2) create AM and PM habits at school
3) plan our planning periods


We already have set up our calendar, to-do lists, thought catchers, PD/meeting notes, and weekly worksheet.


This week is all about keeping our system going.  We have to establish habits of our organization system.  Also, you may be to make adjustments to your tools and systems because if they aren't working for you, you won't keep doing them. (This is why my process for handling late work changes almost every year)  Teachers need to find the sweet spot for routines and organization.

Goal 1: Prepare for the week to come

The first step is to go through what Maia calls The Weekly Round-Up.  This is where we plan for the week ahead.  We teachers know all about planning....we do those lesson plan thingys all the time.  During this Round-Up, we take all of our tools and put everything together, so you can be the best for your students, family, and self.

1) Identify your personal and professional priorities including calendar events, to-dos you want to accomplish, and work responsibilities.


2) Create a schedule using calendar events, ideal week, rest/relaxation and priorities, but be sure to leave some room for the unexpected.


3) Decide what to-dos you need to and/or would like to complete this week.


4) Review your thought catchers to take care of anything that needs to be dealt with this week


5) Review Meeting/PD Notes to determine what you need to scan, add to calendar, or updated in to-do lists


6) Review loose scraps of paper...we all have that rouge sticky notes


7) Do you have any other papers to deal with: calendars, memos, data, etc


8) Review any communications that need to be scheduled into the week: long emails or phone calls?

Maia recommends doing this at some point on Friday.  I personally like to do it Sunday morning, so I do deviate from her plan on that point.  I actually have a version of this on my refrigerator for my whole family.  I updated it on Sunday to show everyone's commitments for the week.  I also write our dinner plans on it, so I don't have to think about it.  This is one from summer, so it is fairly open:


Goal Two: AM and PM habits at school

Maia declares that teachers need habits for the morning when we arrive at school and for the afternoon before we go home.

AM habits might include email, copies, staff meetings, etc.  I usually unpack my bag, check email, change date and journal topic on the board, and lay out my class materials for the whole day.  I try to avoid making copies because the machine always has a line.  I also prefer to keep to myself in the morning because I am not usually fully awake.  I am not a morning person.  Maia gives separate examples of AM routines for both morning people and those of us who are not.

PM habits could be cleaning up, copies, chatting with co-workers, staff meetings, or planning.  I was always that person who let those PM minutes get away from me.  Potumus has practices after school, so I usually have until at least 4 every day, but I always seem to get so little done.  

This part of the book really helped me.  I now have a list taped to my desk of what I need to do each day: get a drink or a snack, check materials for tomorrow, answer at least 5 emails from the school day, pick up stray items in my room, put materials away from today, and clear off my desk.  The last item is probably the most helpful and important to me; coming in to a clean work service is priceless.

Goal Three: Plan our Planning Period


Much like the after school part of my day, my prep, when I had one first semester last year, would get away from me.  I would get pulled into technology issues by others (I am our building rep) and get none of my work done.  I now have a spot at the top of my lesson plans to note what I want to accomplish each day.  I even give myself one day to just have nothing to do except check in with others.

This year my planning period is sixth hour of a seven hour day.  This means I am tired by the time it gets here.  I write my lesson plans the week before, and I mark things I need to make or copy with a colored pen.  This makes my prep planning a little easier. My week's worth of planning periods looks like this:

Monday-Just check in with people and make sure I have everything.
Tuesday-Grade papers
Wednesday-Grade Papers
Thursday- Plan lessons for next week
Friday-Make all copies for next week

What are you waiting for? Get started on your NEXT STEPS:

1) prepare for the week to come
2) create AM and PM habits at school
3) plan our planning periods

Here are some incentives to keep you organized....

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