Overplanning Madness

Slice Daily for the Entire Month of March

March Slice of Life Challenge


Being part of TechEds requires me to try new technology, and I love that. I love learning new things and finding new ways to engage and reach kids. I regularly use all sorts of tools for differentiation, assessment, and instruction.  However, when several people are coming to watch me teach using technology, I feel the need to do something that perhaps they won’t see others doing. This is where the overplanning madness began.


Overplanning is something I do when I have time and announced visitors observing me teach.   This time visitors are coming to see what the TechEds teachers are doing in their classrooms, so I got some crazy ideas and started running with them. This weekend I looked at my plans, and I was like, “Huh? How am I going to do all that? Why did I set it up this way? Does that even make sense? Will it make sense to the kids? Is the content getting lost in the wordiness? Am I trying to make a production?” Aaargh!


Sometimes I chase an idea, catch it, and then don’t know what to with it. Yesterday I began tweaking what I was going to do because I couldn’t figure out how to do what I had envisioned. Then, it just didn’t make sense when I tried to plan the logistics of the lesson.


Finally, I moved to streamlining and simplified what seemed like the “dog and pony show” or “the production” of it all. And now, it makes sense. Now I feel like my technology is infused in my lesson in a way that makes sense. I still might be a bit over the top, but I am trying to show them what kids can do with BYOD.

Tomorrow the students will be participating in “The Great Comma Race” in teams of four. They will take a QR comma quiz (you can make QR quizzes at http://www.classtools.net/QR/) in groups, they will edit sentences written by students differentiated by their level of comma expertise, and the will take  a group quiz on their edited sentences using Formative (https://goformative.com is a new favorite tool of mine). They will end with QR reflection questions (I wrote about this a few days ago). They will be charged to go home and revisit  their essays, and return tomorrow with examples of 3 of 4 types of commas we’ve discussed.


Now I’m just thinking through the lesson. I want to feature tools, I want teachers to see how you can use BYOD, and I want what I’m doing to be grounded in good instruction. As usual, blogging about my thoughts helps me harness my thoughts.  I’ve never really thought of the process I go through so often: overplanning, replanning, tweaking, streamlining, thinking, walking through…

Thank you for helping me make sense of my madness, teacher friends and blog readers. Thanks for commenting, too.

Wish me luck tomorrow. 🙂 I’m tired just thinking about it. I feel like I’ve run The Great Comma Race already many times, in circles.

Engage: It’s all the Rage

Slice Daily for the Entire Month of March

March Slice of Life Challenge

Yesterday I wrote about the desire to create Endings that Don’t Suck. That writing helped me reflect and so did the responses I received from fellow teacher bloggers who affirmed me and gave me a few ideas, as well as the usual suspect, that blog reading princiPAL of mine who told me to go back and read all the good things on my evaluation.

I did. I like to see the nice stuff, but lately I like to see the other stuff, too. I like to see the challenge. I like to get the feedback. In fact, perhaps I dare even say I am glad I had 6 evals this year because I got something from each visit, and I did something to improve from each visit. The way my mind works, though, is the good is good because of where my passion and interests lie, so I don’t focus on that as much because usually that builds naturally for me.

Here’s what I thought about after blogging and reading responses.
All I need to do to figure things out is
be open,
and reflect on what that means for me,
Then, I just need to do something.
Reflecting is who I am, but reflection without action is stagnation.

And so, I did a little Googling, did a little thinking, and I found myself thinking about comments from a few people about involving the kids. Then, I thought about buy in from the kids and from me, so today I tried out something new, “Anyone who has a QR reader, get your phone out.” We’re pretty nerdy in my room because I’m involved in a TechEd initiative.

That being the case phones are flying out of pockets and they are on the QR reader app (I-nigma is my favorite) and scanning my code.

QR reflection

This comes from the work of Tony Vincent. Here is some more QR fun from him.

After the students had fun answering random questions, we talked about QR codes,and what they thought of closings. The students collectively groaned–they don’t like closings. I told them that in a moment of learning (like yesterday) I would be involved working them and would forget, even shutting off the alarm and promptly forgetting it went off.

I asked them what they thought about creating closings using QR codes and technology. I said how about we try to think of closings that we’re excited about. So that’s where I am today–for me, all the rage is to engage.

If I’m bored, they’re bored.
If I’m not having fun, they’re not having fun.
If I don’t enjoy what I do, what’s the point.

Yeah, I know, it’s not all fun and games, but I’m passionate about learning, I’m passionate about my content, I’m passionate about loving what I do.

For me to consistently be “The Closer” I think I’ve got to find a way to add it to my schtick. Anytime I can combine fun and learning; there is buy in on all levels, and anytime I can put a little of my own flavor in something, well, that’s awesome, too.

I think as I look how I can use my strengths to build my weaknesses I am finally getting the hang of what evaluation is really meant to do for us as teachers. Evaluation should really, after all, be an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m really sounding like a Born Again teacher, ha.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog. Slicing with y’all puts me in such an amazing community of teacher writers with whom I connect. People think I’m crazy for writing every day of March. Day 5 and I’m still inspired, and I am determined to post before midnight each night lest I turn into a pumpkin.