Team Planning

When I met with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching last week we talked about team planning.  I shared with her that at my school we have back to back resource (or specials) one day a week, when our students are at their double resources our grade level holds a team meeting.  During this meeting we discuss lesson plans, up coming events, have PD provided by our instructional coach, etc.  Administration will often come in during our meetings to share information, or just to observe our planning.

The way we plan is also different from other schools.  One teacher is responsible for Math plans, one for Reading, one for Science and Social Studies, etc.  This year we had two teachers planning Math and Reading.  We each create plans to share with the entire grade level.  We use these plans as a basis for our lessons, some of us have to add to a lesson for our class or take longer on some skills, it all depends on the type of class we have.

We do not write six point lesson plans, actually we do all planning on the Smartboard.  It is our responsibility to review the plans before teaching them to our class to ensure we understand them and the skill we are teaching.  Often during planning we will discuss the plans with our teammates and share tips, important information, or key vocabulary related to the lessons.  All lesson plans are due into our school shared folder a week before our meetings.  Fourth grade planned on Fridays so we made sure we had our plans in for the following week by our planning time (we were slackers).  
When we create our plans we do not label them Monday, Tuesday, etc., but Day 1, Day 2, etc.  This is because we all have different types of classes and some will go through skills quicker than others.  We will give a date in which a unit must be completed by (according to our County's Unit Analysis).

How do you plan at your school?  Do you have grade level meetings/planning?


  1. That is really interesting. I don't know how I would feel about having someone else make my plans, but I do like how everyone is on the same page.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  2. Wow, I am really surprised by how you plan at your school! Do you like doing it that way? At my school we all just do our own thing. We share ideas, but we all have such totally different ways of teaching that I don't think we would all like what the other planned for a subject :)

  3. I would LOVE this! We planned together every Wednesday, but it was more of a share session. We would look at our TEKS (objectives)and share any activities that might work with the TEKS. My goal was to have my plans written before I left on Thursday, but it usually didn't happen until Sunday. We posted our plans online in a program called Eduphoria. Admin. had access, but I don't think they ever looked at them. They would drop in every once in awhile to our planning session.


  4. Hmmm...I'm not sure that I would feel comfortable with this kind of planning, but I do wish that my team had meetings where we shared lesson ideas. In my school every teacher plans all of their own lessons (I've never known any other way) and our team meetings are held after school on Mondays. At those meetings we really just discuss the big things...budget, upcoming school events, etc. We don't really share lessons and rarely share resources.

    Honestly it wouldn't work well at my school to plan this way because we have a lot of different teaching styles going on. For example, I use a workshop approach to math, reading and writing. Most of the other teachers don't.

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason

  5. We all have different teaching styles and classes, we cluster our EC into an inclusion class and cluster our Gifted into another class, then have classes with the "medium" students. Our plans are VERY detailed. They tell you exactly what skill to teach with activities and worksheets included.

    I do LOVE planning this way. I know that I have a quality plan in the shared folder and if I didn't get a chance to look ahead and adjust the plan I still know my students are getting a quality lesson. We have freedom to tweak the lesson in way we need, it saves me time because tweaking a lesson takes less time than creating a lesson from scratch.

    It does take a bit of time to adjust to planning this way. Every time we hire a new teacher it takes up until Christmas for them to adjust and start liking it. Planning this way is effective and less work for us as teachers. We become "experts" in our planning area and create meaningful detailed lessons.

    Even with our different classes and teaching styles throughout our school we are a top performing school (Top 5 in our district with over 50 Elementary Schools), which in my opinion shows this model works. It does take adjusting to, but once you plan this way you wouldn't want to plan any other way :) When I moved to Alabama a few years ago I got my 4th grade team there to plan this way too :) {I taught at my current school for 4 years, moved and came back}

  6. Wow. I am envious of your weekly planning time!! We have more sections of our grade level than available specials, so it doesn't work for us at all.

    Our principal requires us to plan as you have outlined - one person per subject. Last year was our first year to do it, and it was a struggle. We must write out lesson plans, and our team added the SMART board component, since we all use them.

    Can you share any tips for making something like this run smoothly?


  7. I'm a middle school teacher, so team planning just doesn't happen since we teach different subjects. But in an elementary school setting, I think this makes PERFECT sense. One of the things I find daunting about elementary school (and partially why I stick to middle grades) is that it's SO much prep work. How can everyone be an expert on all those standards? It sounds like you guys have a great solution!

  8. We plan similar to you. We have 12 teachers per grade level and it is just too much to plan all together. Last year, we divided up a subject to every two people...but it didn't work out well because some people didn't follow the curriculum maps or submit the plans in time etc. etc. So this year we plan reading/writing and then math/sci/ss. So six of us meet together, which is sort of a pain, but at least we are all on the same page and then we divide up any work that needs to be done. The plans get input online to a "Team Planner" and then people can edit them for themselves as needed.

    Literacy Spark


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