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The Best Laid Plans. . .Writing Lesson Plans

Lesson plans have always been an Achilles heel for me.  I have taught for so-o-o long, that how to teach the lesson as well as knowing the content is not an issue.  I always have a Plan B, C, and D ready - just in case.  I now teach on the college level where no one checks my plans; however, I still write an outline for the day so I know that I have covered the important points. 

My first job, when I retired from our local school system, was teaching math at a private school.  Mind you, I had been teaching math for over twenty years; yet, the administrator wanted me to do detailed plans which had to be turned in every Friday. I grudgingly did them, but would add little comments in the comment section. That space became my way of quietly venting; so, I would write such things as:  "So many lesson plans; so little time. Writing detailed plans is not time well spent.  To plan or to grade, that is the question.  I am aging quickly; so, I need to make succinct plans."

My supervisor finally relented and allowed me to do an outline form of plans. However, he visited often to observe my teaching, which I didn't mind.  At least he knew what was happening in my classroom.  I have learned from teaching and observing student teachers that anyone can come up with dynamite plans, but the question is: "Do the plans match what the teacher is doing in the classroom?"  Remember Madelyn Hunter?  Oh, how my student teachers hated her lesson plan design, but they did learn how to make a good plan. To this day, I still do many of the items such as a focus activity and a lesson reflection at the end.

My Husband's Lesson Plans for a Week in October
As many of you know, my husband is a middle school science teacher. He is the "Sci" part of my name. Anyway, he is in his 43rd year of teaching, and he still does lesson plans - not the detailed ones we did our first couple of years of teaching, but plans he does have. He divides one of his white boards into sections using colored electrical tape as seen in the illustration on the left.  He then writes what each class is doing for the week in a designated square. In this way, the principal, parents, and students know the content that will be covered. Even the substitute (he is rarely sick) has a general idea of the day's activities. If plans change, he simply erases and makes the necessary corrections.

So what kind of plans are you required to do?  Maybe there are no requirements for you, but do you still write plans?  Are they in outline form or just brief notes to yourself?  I am interested in knowing what you do; so, please participate in the this conversation by leaving a comment.

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By the way, do you need a lesson plan that is easy to use, and yet is acceptable to turn into your supervisor or principal?   Check out my three lesson plan templates. One is a generic lesson plan; whereas, the other two are specifically designed for mathematics (elementary or secondary) and reading.  Checklists are featured on all three plans; hence, there is little writing for you to do. These lists include Bloom’s Taxonomy, multiple intelligences, lesson types, objectives, and cooperative learning structures. Just click under the resource cover.


Getting A Grip on Gratitude

We live in a nation where we have so much to be thankful for. We enjoy a measure of wealth that billions in this world can only dream of and previous generations could not have even imagined. Is it possible that we have grown so accustomed to our affluence that we have lost the wonder of it? Is it possible that our affluence is harming us even as it blesses us?

Unfortunately, I think many in America are infected with the contagious and dangerous disease of "affluenza". How do I know? Because daily, I see people exhibiting the symptoms of the disease. One of the first symptoms is discontentment with what they have. As we possess more things, satisfaction and contentment declines. Many times wealth doesn't deliver joy, only emptiness.

Secondly, obsession is a symptom of affluenza.  I want more; I need more; I deserve more is advertised everyday on T.V.  If we already have a product, we are enticed to upgrade to the latest and newest version or to replace it altogether.

Ingratitude is another indicator of affluenza.  We have so much that we have no needs, just wants, and as we acquire those desires, we tend to forget the words, "Thank you." Finally "affluenza" results in a non-giving spirit.  We grudgingly give or give a meager amount to satisfy our conscious. Shouldn't our giving reflect our abundant blessings?

This Thanksgiving, take time to be thankful.  Share with those you love why you are thankful for them. Call someone you haven't seen for a while and tell them you are thankful for their love and friendship.  Invite someone who has no family to have dinner with your family. And don't forget to give thanks to God who gives us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.



It Depends on the Angle - Complimentary and Supplementary Angles

My Basic Algebra Concepts class just started a brief chapter on geometry...my favorite to teach! We are currently working on angles, and as we went through the definitions, I noticed my students were having difficulty distinguishing complimentary from supplementary angles. Since most of my students are visual learners, I had to come up with something that would jog their memory.


The definition states that complementary angles are any two angles whose sum is 90°. (The angles do not have to be next to each other to be complementary.) As seen in the diagram on the left, a 30° angle + a 60° angle = 90° so they are complementary angles. Notice that the two angles form a right angle or 1/4 of a circle.

If I write the word complementary and change the first letter "C" into the number nine and I think of the letter "O" as the number zero, I have a memory trick my mathematical brain can remember.


Supplementary Angles are two angles whose sum is 180°. Again, the two angles do not have to be together to be supplementary, just so long as the total is 180 degrees. In the illustration on your right, a 110° angle + a 70° angle = 180°; so, they are supplementary angles. Together, they form a straight angle or 1/2 of a circle.

If I write the word supplementary and alter the "S" so it looks like an 8, I can mentally imagine 180°.


Since there are so many puns for geometric terms. I have to share a bit of geometry humor. (My students endure many geometry jokes!)



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You might be interested in a variety of hands-on ideas on how to introduce angles to your students. Check out this resource.  It explains how to construct different kinds of angles (acute, obtuse, right, straight) using items such as coffee filters, plastic plates, and your fingers. Each item or manipulative is inexpensive, easy to make, and simple for students to use. All of the activities are hands-on and work well for kinesthetic, logical, spatial, and/or visual learners.