my advanced methods class for grad school is asking us to bring in material we will use to plan a lesson for the week of september 15th. this is a perfectly reasonable (and very easy) assignment, except that i can't remember the last time i used a teacher's manual or something of the sort to plan.
we plan collaboratively, every lesson being discussed with other teachers in the buildings, whether it is the literacy collaborative coach, a co-teacher, the math specialist, or the speech/language pathologist. we refer to the students' work, look at school-wide rubrics, consider developmental bench marks, consult professional books, and review what we did the year before.
in my early days of teaching i could not plan without fountas and pinnell's guided reading book, (or the more teacher-friendly guided reading: making it work). i have read and re-read debbie miller's book reading with meaning so many times that the pages of my copy are literally falling out. and lucy, of course. i can quote (i'm not even exaggerating), i can literally quote lucy calkins and her units of study. of course now i'm relying heavily on already ready as well as some books on behavior management so i make sure we teach in a way the children can learn.
now that i've taught more i refer to the books for clarification, but to be honest i know them really well. so much of planning is looking at where the students are, thinking about where we want them to be, and deciding the most appropriate method to get each child there.
i suppose, for the assignment i'll bring in my copy of lucy calkins' small moments unit of study book, the book already ready, a copy of my children's writing samples, and the writing rubric my school follows. maybe i could bring in my co-teacher as well for good measure, since i wouldn't begin planning writing without a discussion.
the nature of this assignment serves as a reminder of what an incredible place my school is. a culture of collaboration, research, and child-centered approaches is intuitive in my building. for all my think-tank co-workers, thank you for making this one grad school assignment a little bit harder.