I just stumbled upon a document called “Weekly Class Action Plan”, which I prepared the week before classes started. It’s week 7, and perhaps I’m ready to use it. I do a hellishly anxiety-ridden month of prep before every semester, and, looking back on some of those lost weekends, hindsight is giving me the thumbs-up to go easy next time. While there were spurts of wildly creative juice, much of what was produced withers on the vine.
Such as my mindmeister map of the progression of learning.
Such as the photo of me holding a tomato with my wife in a hammock in the background.
Such as the hand-drawn style video of how the network connections work.
Such as how I was going to introduce students to seeing things artistically.
And so on.
But THIS! This is coming into play 2-nite. At last.
I make weekly notes that pertain to specific lessons for every class, so this document is about the general flow of things (very general!). I consistently wish I used class time more efficiently, and during the outbreath after the sometimes grueling 2.5 hour class period, I wonder what just happened. Will a plan keep it on track?
There are certain things I want to do every time, like the 5-minute share with a partner, watching videos, working together, and the show n tell. Oh, and the “relax” part, and especially the “be prepared” part. What often happens is: I start talking, and pretty soon the class is over. I need the discipline to make sure some of the things on the action plan come in to break up the incessant lessoning I tend to do.
When I first moved to Prescott, I got a temp position at a company that processed Readers Digest Sweepstakes entries (the losing ones). Here’s a plug for the value of education: I was tapped for room supervisor because I was the only one there with a BA. One of my duties was leading everyone in 15 minutes of stretching twice during shifts, and it was the best part of the day.
My students need time to stretch, and it’s my job to keep their bodies, eyes, hands and brains limber during long evening classes. That’s what the action plan is all about: keeping it flowing, listening and inspiring, while we grapple with crazily complex creative editing technology. I created this document after reflecting on what went right. If we follow the plan, will teaching and learning be different?