Plan the year: Writings on the wall


So we ended up the last post with this:


A rough sequence of ideas and activities for each of my classes for the entire year.

I then tried typing out a calendar in iCal, but once again, a simpler, less techy, more kinesthetically satisfying method won out in the end:


The desk calendar. Nine months of school. I started by consulting my school web site and internal calendars to determine some of the major events of the year:

  • start of school
  • holiday breaks
  • faculty days (no school for students)
  • back-to-school night and parent visiting day
  • things like Freedom from Chemical Dependency week where the academic schedule is significantly adjusted
  • winter break and spring break
  • final exams
  • end of school

After writing all that in, I took out colored pads of small post-it notes: blue for 7th grade, yellow for 8th grade. I taped up the large calendars to one of my chalkboards and started posting up the reading schedule assignments for each of the book units of the year in the sequence I had determined before:


I then tacked up my index card ideas in the weekend spots alongside each week (Sunday for 7th graders, Saturday for 8th graders):


…and ended up with a pretty good visual overview of the year. I could see for myself which units I had a lot to work with, and which ones I had a scarcity of ideas for. I could see where I needed to invest more work to make later projects succeed. I could see where there were more opportunities in terms of scheduling and free time. I could see where I was integrating the class themes and where there were threads of skill development. I could get a sense of the ebb and flow of energy of the year.

I actually stood in front of the thing for a good while, just taking it in. It was a bit like doing a chi sao exercise, adjusting to the feel of the year. It was a lot of work, but I ended up feeling more confident, less anxious, better attuned to the purpose and direction of my teaching.

But I wasn’t done yet…


2 thoughts on “Plan the year: Writings on the wall

  1. Lord, man! That looks intense. And with my current schedule of work+school+teaching, I probably could benefit from having a calendar like this. Alas…, I’m not so organized!

    Hey – some day in the future, me, you and Tom gotta grab a bite. Take it easy,


  2. RaiulBaztepo

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language šŸ˜‰
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


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