Saturday, December 30, 2006

Planning for next year

Spent the day in New York City with the family today, and now I find myself parked in front of the computer trying to nail down plans for the new year, which is only a weekend + 1 away. I had already planned to start the year by giving the students a choice of three books - Frankenstein, The Color of Water, and Black Boy. The unifying theme will be Alienation & Isolation. To start, each student will read the first chapter of each book and choose one on which to complete a prediction assignment.

Even though I have the general outline in mind, now I'm stuck in front of the computer discovering the possibilities of the Google calendar tool. I decided to use it as a day-to-day lesson planner. Each event in the calendar is the day's lesson. In the event description section, I sketched out a rough lesson plan, so each one looks like this...

This allows me to write up my lessons informally, edit and change them, and also maintain a record of the instruction inside class. I also co-teach with a special education teacher, and she can log in and leave comments/suggestions about the lesson. It goes without saying that everything in the calendar can be searched. Another handy little benefit. You also have the option to share some, all, or none of your calendar contents with the Google universe.

Next, I created another calendar, this one listing all the due dates for my students. This can be linked to my blog or my website, and I can print it out to give to students in class. What makes this function even more handy is that, if I view the two calendars together - planning and due dates - it makes it easier and more visually understandable for me to see my lesson plans alongside the corresponding due dates. Here's what it looks like so far...

As you can see, viewing it in agenda produces an easier on the eyes format, especially for seeing the longer calendar entries. There is, however, an option to toggle back and forth between calendar view and agenda. If you haven't already discovered this tool, I encourage you to check it out.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.

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