Reply To: Planning Time

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In my current position I teach HS general music, HS choir, MS general music, MS band (not beginners) and assist with the HS band. It’s the first year I’ve had this length of responsibilities and I didn’t find out about anything except the band before July. So I started there.

I always start my planning in June, at least for the classes that I know I’ll have. That is, of course, long-term planning. I choose concert dates, concert materials, complete purchase orders for any new music, develop worksheets or exercise pages that prepare students for the concert pieces we will learn. Before band camp begins I usually have a weekly outline of what we’ll focus on for at least the first nine weeks or through the concert. Next year, if my responsibilities remain the same, I’ll have the same type of outline for every class I have.

Let me say this though: never expect that one year will be the same as the previous or the following. In 8 years of teaching, my responsibilities have changed in some way every year and for the past three, that has meant adding on more in some form or fashion. So it’s not like I can just rework an old lesson plan.

And, of course, I’m not working with a single textbook. Yes, I have concert music. But I still have to break it down, pace it all and in the case of my general music classes, I’m writing the curriculum from scratch. Unlike my colleagues in tested subjects, I do not have a teacher’s manual to jump start my daily plans or a worksheet book to make quick copies out of. When my kids practice a new concept, it is all teacher-directed.

When I plan for my daily plans for the week, I fill out a chart (like one you find in the back of a lesson plan/grading book). I include my standard, objective, warmup, technical exercises, performance rehearsal and closure. I also include a box for notes and announcements. Once that is filled out, I can write my long-form lessons much quicker, elaborating on what needs to be focused upon for each element.