Education is a fundamental pillar of life, and those who are in charge of this pillar are at the heart of shaping the future of the world. This squad of super heroes inspires children of all ages, from pre-K to post-grad, language classes to continuing ed. That’s right, teachers, your secret is exposed! But no need to hide the cape—embrace it! You have a very special super-empowerment that lasts a lifetime for each student that crosses your path. And this empowerment begins with strong lesson planning.
With the growing adoption of requirements such as Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in mathematics and language arts, K-12 education in the United States is sometimes tethered to stringent guidelines when it comes to submitting official lesson plans. In many circumstances, teachers are provided forms, spread sheets or word documents to fill out in a specific manner. In these cases, there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room for creativity in lesson planning. But there can be! Whether you have an open canvas or are working on a standard lesson plan template, Cacoo is a great tool for making your lesson plans meatier. You can use Cacoo as your main resource for crafting your core curriculum or as a supplement to your official lesson plan templates.
As the summer progresses toward the start of a fresh new year, it’s time to dust off your cape and add Cacoo to your squad goals for lesson planning.
Mindmap Your Objectives
Objectives are a major part of the lesson plan, the treasure at the end of the educational journey. Hammering down the objectives will help make the path to get there. And of course, you’ll want to create a hearty experience that leads to this treasure. To reach an objective, it’s important to cover all possible ground, explore any opportunity for educating, account for each learning style, and prepare for any questions that may arise. So why not mind map? A mind map is a great tool for you to get all of your ideas out visually and see how they connect back to the objective(s) at hand. Know everything you can about your objectives, and mind mapping becomes your key to exercising your power of omniscience.
Go With the Flow Chart
Once you have a working mind map, you can use this generated guide to plot out the steps to your objectives through a flow chart. This technique can reveal insight into the possible directions a lesson can take. Let loose your chrono vision, your ability to see into the future by using your knowledge of the past and present, to guide you. With all of your possible lesson options in place, you’ll be able to draft up a solid, well-rounded class schedule.
Crafting the Class Schedule
A typical school year can reach about 180 days. Prepare to unleash the power of time bending to work your curriculum into this 36 weeks of teaching. Planning out the school year can be as macro and micro as you need it to be. Gantt charts are the perfect way to lay out the template of your syllabus for the year, month, week and day ahead. Once you have your curriculum in order, start with the big picture and schedule out the year, planning out what units need to be covered in specific time frames. This can be very general and offers an overview at a quick glance of your long-term goals for the year. You can break it down even further by week, with more specifics.
The daily breakdown is the momentum that drives your lessons toward their ultimate destination. The more detailed, the better. You can use a Gantt chart for this; however, the most effective approach may simply be the spreadsheet variety. Charting out your path right down to the minute ensures that you are buckled in and moving at the proper speed. In reality, the daily schedule can veer off course, slow down or speed up, depending on the needs and natural rhythm of the students. But you will be able to get back to the beaten path with the help of your well plotted out schedule. There are many lesson plan schedule templates out there, and although Cacoo provides sample templates, it offers you the freedom to customize and create a schedule that fits your specific needs.
Create Course Materials
Whether you are creating digital documents or printouts, blasting out the power of knowledge through worksheets and other course material is an integral part of every lesson. Cacoo is the perfect tool for creating compelling course documents for any lesson. You can use this tool to integrate the information that you are teaching with educational activities and thought inducing assignments. Just export the document, and you have living material to share digitally or print. By going beyond the textbook, you have this incredible resource to create your own supplemental material that has the potential to meet the varying learning styles and needs of your individual class. It is a great way to develop your own reserves and use your own resources to the advantage of the students, empowering them with knowledge in a dynamic fashion.
Teacher Collaboration Tool
For teachers that share a classroom, the power to collaborate is key. Co-teachers and assistant teachers can communicate and edit documents simultaneously with Cacoo. From class schedules to course materials, shared documents can be accessed at any time by multiple users. If a teacher needs to communicate with a sub or a professor with a TA, they can directly chat or leave messages through the various course documents created in the program. Real-time collaboration on documents ensures that all educators are up-to-date on the material at hand and that the students are continuing on with their journey to the course objectives.
Lectures and class presentations are a daily routine and can get stuck in the pattern of lather, listen, repeat. So to get the students engaged in the content day after day, consider enhancing your lectures with flowing visuals behind you. With Cacoo it is easy to create slides with dynamic diagrams and images that illustrate the topic at hand. You can make one long flowing slide and show that through Cacoo directly, or for a more professional touch, you can export individual slides in the PowerPoint format and present via that presentation software. No need to use your telepathy when you can use Cacoo to visually enhance your lecture.
With a new list of students in hand, you’re probably anxious to put your feng shui power into practice and start prepping the layout of your new classroom. Even if your layout won’t change much from the previous year, it’s always fun to play with space and set up the optimum environment for the year to come. By using Cacoo’s “Office Layout” templates as a guide and taking advantage of the Cacoo stencils, you can map out the seating chart for your incoming students. Will this year stick with the standard rows and columns or will it be a classroom-in-the-round featuring the infamous horseshoe? Play around with your design until you find what fits best. And if the horseshoe fits, keep it – or at least set it up for the start of the year!
School may be on recess, but a super hero’s job is never done. With the right organization and some well mapped out scheduling, you’re certain to have a clear path to meeting your curriculum goals and objectives. This preparation should leave you excited to take on another year of super-empowering the minds of the future!