A true confession: I have a serious problem with time. Once I’m in a classroom surrounded by children and we’re reading, thinking aloud, discussing the ideas in a book, I can go on forever. If the kids are engaged, I choose to ignore the clock, lose myself in the conversation, and end up sacrificing time for the students to read and write independently.
I thought (and still do) that this simple planning tool was a work of genius.
I won’t ask you to raise your hand if you do this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one! It’s just so much fun to talk about books and writing, and when students are leaning into the conversation to share their original ideas . . . well, I could stay all day and into the night. So, for me, planning and sticking to the plan is essential.
When I saw the planning wheel that my dear friend and colleague Debbie Miller used, I was immediately drawn to it to keep my time problem under control.
I thought (and still do) that this simple planning tool was a work of genius. In simplicity is often found the greatest elegance (that’s a quote from my mom—I didn’t get what she was talking about when I was a kid, but I do now). I saw some ways that I wanted to adapt it and, with Debbie’s permission, did exactly that.
Figure 3.2 shows a lesson I planned very early in my use of the planning wheel. You can see that I made revisions before the lesson and jotted notes and questions about students with whom I conferred and words I didn’t quite finish— it’s a real draft.
It was so easy and practical and really forced me to prioritize the children’s work time. Throughout The Literacy Studio and in the online resources you’ll read about many lessons that were born on the planning wheel and get a sense of how we might use them to address some of the time issues teachers have.
To download a copy of the planning wheel and see more sample lessons, please visit The Literacy Studio at Heinemann.com, scroll down the webpage, and click on Companion Resources.