Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Superintendent Writes... Unit Lesson Plan Options - Part 1

In response to the 2/17/2016 post, “A Reader Asks... Unit Lesson Plan Options,” a LYS Superintendent writes:


I might be in the minority here, but as a campus principal for nine years, an assistant superintendent for four years and now a superintendent for over a year, having teachers turn in lesson plans for an administrator to check off for compliance is a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.  If I (the instructional leader) am not going to take the time to read the lesson plan and provide input, then why in the world would I have teachers turn them in to me?  

Look, I am not saying teachers don't have to have lesson plans, on the contrary, just the opposite. They need a well-crafted plan of what they are teaching and what the students should be doing.  That lesson should be based on curriculum planning completed at a much earlier date, that as an administrator, I was involved in creating and I am supporting.  The lessons should be vetted to some extent through the PLC process by fellow teachers.  The only checks/balances/monitoring I need is when I enter your room for a PowerWalks observations or any other reason. It should be obvious to me that you have a great plan by what is going on in the room or painfully obvious to me that you don't.  If need be, a written plan should be quickly accessible either in the teachers hand or on her desk so I refer to it.

Principals should lead, not manage teachers.  Teachers should be given expectations and time to create great lessons for kids.  If they are turning in a lesson plan to me, it better be to brag about the awesome things in their classroom and invite me to come see, not for compliance.

SC Response
Agreed. Compliance planning, otherwise known as lesson fiction, is a waste of time. But not planning is even a bigger waste of time. Winging it, simply ensures that the lowest quality instruction is delivered consistently.

Which is why I’m a fan of the one page lesson plan (see: The Official Fundamental 5 Lesson Plan Developer). I want my teachers to actually consider what they will teach, how they will teach it, and the desired outcome of the teaching, prior to class.  And then adjust from the plan when the actual teaching begins.

I also agree that all of this is moot, if instructional leaders don’t spend enough time in classrooms.  That it is the classroom observation that provides the best and real check to determine if effective lesson planning is actually taking place.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
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