Curriculum Planning –More important than classroom decoration.
Sure your classroom looks great but how’s your planning going?
Now, don’t get me wrong I love a gorgeous classroom as much as the next teacher. But when I scroll through Instagram or Pinterest I can’t help but wonder if, when it comes to classrooms, beauty is only ‘skin’ deep?
Ok I’m not saying you shouldn’t give your classroom an Insta-worthy makeover if you want to. Having a beautiful classroom can make you, and your students, feel excited for the year ahead. I know there’s pressure to make your room look great. I’ve felt the shame that my classroom is not as beautiful as the other teachers. I’ve also sat up until all hours laminating and cutting labels, displays and motifs. Ugh. What I’m saying is your curriculum planning and prep for teaching and learning should be your first priority. Having the perfect cactus motif on the hessian covered pinboard, above your funky park bench, sitting on a mat of artificial grass, is not creating the ideal learning environment if you’re not ready for the learning to start. So here are my top 3 must-dos before you start decorating your classroom.
1. Curriculum Planning
You know I’m all about planning. Even if you’ve been teaching for 20+ years you should have clear, written, plans for the year ahead. And I’m not talking about the yearly curriculum overview that your school has on the server. I’m talking about curriculum planning that is specific. Genuine planning documents will demonstrate the following:
a. How you will bring the curriculum to life in your classroom
b. How you will ensure you’re covering the whole curriculum across the year and then term
c. How you will assess each achievement standard and the criteria for each assessment
I could go on but for now I’ll leave it at that. Planning is a huge topic that I’ll break down later.
If your curriculum planning is in place you won’t need to do the morning scramble to organise resources for lessons. Of course, there will be times when you forget things or a lesson changes at the last minute. But if you’ve located and organised resources clearly you shouldn’t have to do this as often. As a result, your stress levels will go down because you’re ready to deal with any issues. Being super organised will help you be more flexible and deal with the curve balls that get thrown at you each day. How you organise your resources is up to you but here are some suggestions to get you started:
a. Curriculum folders on your computer.
Create a filing system on your computer that breaks down each component of your planning. This doesn’t need to be a big task. By creating a master folder you can simply copy and rename it for each subject and topic.
b. Google Drive
I love that Google Drive is accessible from anywhere you have internet connection. If you’ve already saved your planning on your hard drive that’s not a problem. You can also upload your curriculum files straight from your computer. It’s so easy! Google Drive will maintain the same filing system of folders and sub folders.
Still don’t have the time? No problem! We’ve created a master folder system and cheat sheet for you. It comes with step by step instructions to set up your own curriculum filing system on your PC and Google Drive. Subscribe to our email list to receive it straight to your inbox.
This is all the nuts and bolts stuff of running your classroom. Having these tasks organised and ready to go early means you’ll be ready to start the year off right. Some of these can be created, laminated and used for years. Sure, you might have seen them for years, but they’ll be new to your students each year.
- Weekly timetable
- Book covers
- Back to school newsletters
- Tray labels
- Birthday charts
- Your desk and drawers
- Stationery – for you and your students
- Resource cupboards or storage
- Art supplies
So, before you go looking for the perfect Llama motif ask yourself if you’re ready to teach for the year ahead. Is your curriculum planning in place? It may not be as fun, but it will reduce your workload and help you cope with the unexpected.
If you’re keen to set up your own curriculum planning filing system, we have created a master file for you already. Sign up to our VIT membership and we’ll email it to you straight away. When you sign up, you’ll also receive our regular email. These emails often include freebies designed especially for upper primary teachers.
All the best for the year ahead!
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