Friday, August 02, 2013

Quick Tip #2

Scheduling classroom core curriculum lessons can sometimes be a challenge - especially with all of the tight academic agendas in each classroom. Use this "Quick Tip" to make scheduling a breeze.

  1. In your email system, create some new contact lists that group your grade levels by team. So, for example I have: Kindergarten Team, First Grade Team, Third Grade Team, Fourth Grade Team, Fifth Grade Team, Special Education Team, etc.
  2. Map out what your school year will look like, as far as, providing Core Curriculum to all classrooms. This would be based on your K-12 School Counseling Program or if you do not have this in place, it would be based on data you've gathered regarding topics to be taught in each grade level and time of year to teach them.
  3. To schedule the first lesson of the school year in each grade level, send a single email to each teacher in the grade level team (for example, you would choose from the new contact groups you created "Fifth Grade Team" and one email will go to each teacher in that contact list). In the email, explain that you will be beginning a series of however many lessons, once/twice per week, at however many minutes each (30 minutes is my norm). Ask each grade level teacher to respond to your email with some days of the week and times of day that work best for him/her. To begin lessons the second full week of school, I send out this email the week of the first teacher in-service days.
  4. Using the information you gather from these emails, plug each of the classrooms into your planner and schedule out the entire series of lessons (maybe it will take 3 weeks or 4 weeks, etc.). Schedule around meetings, days off,school events, personal days etc. This is the planner/appointment book that I use. See my post School Counselor: Our Time and Services are Valuable to find out why I love this product!
  5. Send a single email back to each member of the grade level team, again using the contact groups you created). In the email, list each teacher's name and underneath the name, list the dates and times you will be coming in for each lesson, and next to each date/time indicate the lesson topic. CC this email to any support personnel that service students in that grade level (special education, speech/language, OT, etc.). I put the entire schedule in one grade level email so that the team members can see when I will be visiting each class. I CC to the support personnel just so they know when I will be in there in case there are servicing needs. Also in this email, I include a disclaimer to have a back-up-plan scheduled in the event that I get called away and would have to reschedule the lesson.
  6. I schedule two to three grade levels at a time; I would teach lessons in fifth grade and fourth grade during the same weeks because the preferred choice of lesson time is usually not the same time in each grade level. I schedule out two to three months at a time; for example, I schedule for the entire fall this way so that I do multiple lessons in every grade level prior to the Winter Break. This way, it helps to keep the "big picture" in focus and enables me to schedule any other responsibilities that pop-up around these scheduled lessons.
  7. If I have to reschedule a lesson, I make arrangements with each individual teacher. 

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