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Educators talk about planning instruction

“After thirty plus years of teaching, everything comes naturally, even the planning involved in starting the school year. However, this was not always the case. My first few years of teaching were extremely difficult and I always felt like I was treading as fast as I could, just trying to keep my head above the water. The way our special education program is set up at my school I usually have the same students for three to four years. So, I know what areas they need to work on and what they already know. When I get a new student, I look at his or her goals and objectives from the previous year. When planning activities for my students I have to make sure that I am meeting each student’s individual needs. My students come to me with a wide range of abilities and needs and I must take these into consideration when planning activities. Every activity I plan for must be multi-level to ensure that both my lower functioning and higher functioning students are able to learn and get the most from each activity. This is the best piece of advice I can give to beginning teachers when planning activities.”

--Pam Prior – Secondary special education teacher  

“The beginning of each year is unique. You have a brand new set of students eager to learn. The beginning of the year can be a very hectic time where planning is key to ensure a successful start. This is especially true in Kindergarten, where students come in with a wide-range of abilities and needs. When I first started teaching I would plan only what I thought I would finish in a day. I soon realized that, depending on my students, some activities would take a much longer time than I anticipated while others lasted only a fraction of the time I planned for them. This is why it is so important for new teachers to over-plan in the beginning. After several years of teaching, you will have a better idea of how long it will take to complete certain activities and a bag of other activities that you can use if an activity finishes early. Until you get this experience under your belt, you have to make sure that you are over-prepared. This will help to ensure that you are never finished with all of your lessons by lunch time and left with nothing to do for the afternoon.”

--Michelle Ungerman – Kindergarten teacher