Category Archives: Planning


The monarch caterpillar being observed in our experiment died.

The science lab flopped when the principal came in for my evaluation.

The internet connection was lost.

The copy machine was out of order for a week.

My child was sick so I had to leave school on short notice.

I was sick.

An unexpected fire alarm and evacuation interrupted my planning period.

A guest speaker cancelled on the morning of the presentation.

I have encountered all of these situations at some point in my teaching career.

Things will go wrong sometimes.  I try to have a back-up plan.

I have a collection of science articles set aside just in case my emergency sub is not comfortable presenting the lesson on the periodic table, the digestive system, or whatever may be planned for the day.

I have had the opportunity to teach my students that some experiments don’t turn out how we planned, and we can use the scientific method to find out why.

I have moved ahead to my lesson plan for the next day when the internet, the copy machine, or the fire alarm malfunctions.

I have searched through milkweeds after school to find more monarch caterpillars.  Three to be exact.  Just in case.








Planning Procedures for the New School Year

As the new school year approaches, I have been thinking about establishing procedures in the classroom that will keep things running smoothly and will limit the interruptions to learning.

Things to think about:

  • passing out papers
  • collecting assignments
  • bathroom/drink breaks
  • sharpening pencils
  • distributing lab materials/supplies
  • missing assignments/incomplete work
  • items forgotten in locker
  • determining partners/groups
  • absent students
  • iPad/laptop use
  • behavior concerns
  • switching classes
  • hand-raising/student needing assistance

Each moment spent handling one of these tasks can mean time taken away from my students.  I would love to hear your suggestions.  Please share any procedures that work well in your classroom.

My Attempt at a 15-Minute Commitment

I tried something different this summer.  I decided during the month of July that I would spend 15 minutes each weekday working on my yearly and unit plans for the coming school year.  In the past, I have not made this type of commitment during the summer.  I would occasionally work on planning or check out ideas online that I could use in my classroom, but this was not done consistently.  However, as I continue to read about setting goals and establishing good habits, I thought spending time each day on this was an approach worth trying.

I set my phone timer for 15 minutes and started planning.  I listed the units I wanted to cover for each class during the year and started adding ideas and activities.  When the timer went off, I was done for the day.

I am surprised at the amount of planning that I have been able to do in just 15 minutes.  I think I am even more surprised by the total amount of work I have been able to do.  My hope was that these small bits of work time would lead to a good chunk of planning for the new school year.  It has been painless, but I have to admit that I struggled to get back into this habit after being gone on a vacation for a few days.  I am getting back to my daily planning time.  I know I will be happy when school starts that I have made some progress, but have still been able to have an enjoyable and relaxing summer.