As a teacherpreneur with many gigs going on simultaneously, it's easy to get overwhelmed.
Managing all the pieces at the same time is exhausting. With this in mind, I wanted to share one of my secret weapons for managing it all - teaching frameworks.
These frameworks save me time and energy and allow me to individualize my teaching and coaching, no matter the context. In this email, I'll share with you my top reasons for using teaching frameworks and some of my favorite frameworks that have significantly impacted my teaching and the learning of my students.
Sitting in the newly minted Denver airport, awaiting my flight to Cleveland, Ohio, for a consulting gig with Erin Kent, I couldn't help but ponder teaching and learning frameworks. With a good framework in your back pocket and a small amount of planning, a day can go by without a hitch!
You see, as a Literacy Strategist for EKC, I tailor my work to the needs of the school, teachers, and students in each location. I'm not paid for planning (just as you aren’t) but rather for my time working with teachers and students. Hence, I rely heavily on frameworks and high-engagement teaching practices to efficiently individualize my teaching and coaching time. If I spend twice as long planning than I do teaching, the job is unstainable.
The good news is that teaching frameworks can be used anywhere and everywhere. I mastered using frameworks to save me time and energy while in the fifth-grade classroom. Now, I'm just applying the same theory to working with adults in a different context.
For those of you who may be skeptical, let me tell you why you should use a teaching framework if you're not doing so already:
Students (adults or children) quickly learn what to expect from their time together, allowing them to focus on what they're learning rather than how they're learning it. This can accelerate the learning rate.
Teachers don’t need to spend countless hours browsing the internet for another activity.
Teachers can use any resource and outcome.
Teachers can use the same framework in multiple subject areas, which is especially useful for Elementary teachers who teach multiple subjects daily.
Teaching and learning become predictable, providing everyone with opportunities to learn and practice at their capacity in a differentiated way.
Last year, as a new fifth-grade teacher on a new team with multiple new teammates, I relied on the Reading and Writing Workshop framework for my literacy instruction and the Modern Classroom Project’s model for math. Science and Social Studies were taught using direct skill instruction through blended learning, the inquiry cycle, and thinking routines.
I used the seven planning steps outlined below with my teammates, then plugged the outcomes into my preferred teaching framework.
Voila! My planning and prep time was cut in half once I stopped trying to do things the way everyone else did and believed in what I knew how to do well, using teaching frameworks.
Wink, wink, I believed in myself!
Seven steps to plan for any age:
Start with the end in mind - What do you want your students to know and be able to do at the end of the unit, lesson, or workshop?
Break big learnings into bite-size, quickly measurable outcomes - How can you put these learnings into student-friendly language?
Turn learning targets into teaching points.
Plug one teaching point into a teaching framework - Choose a framework that works for you.
Find and prepare exemplars and anchor charts - Show your students what good looks like.
Teach, coach, listen (and take notes), and frequently give feedback individually or in small groups.
Check for the continued relevance of your next planned teaching point, and keep going!
Whether you're teaching kids or adults, find a high-functioning framework or two to get good at. Study the philosophy and strategies and try them out with others. You'll be amazed at how fast your planning will be once you've mastered pedagogy and only have to plan for the outcomes.
To learn more about my consulting and coaching work with Erin Kent Consulting and the Modern Classroom Project, both of which hire incredible teachers like you, watch this 6-minute video and reply to let me know your thoughts after reading this email!
Do you have a teaching framework that saves you and your students time and energy?
PS- I’m trying out a new structure on my Work-Life Balance #shorts. What do you think?