I’ve always been a planner. As soon in my family is up on Saturday morning, I ask, “let’s plan out the day. During this pandemic, I have asked my family to “plan out the day” for the last 87 days. Yup – They are a bit sick of hearing that out of my mouth.
But planning out the day has helped me cope. Making a plan makes me feel in control, and completing the plan helps me feel productive. At the end of each day, I look over my to-do list to see that I did accomplish something, and that sense of accomplishment eases my mind. I plan because I believe how we use our time is everything, and I don’t want to waste it.
As I taught students online, I realized that learning to plan needs to be a more significant part of teaching. Do I give kids a chance to plan? Are they feeling in control of their learning, or is learning “being done to them”? Have I done everything I give my students choice and agency over their learning? If I am honest, my answer is: No, I can do better.
When I return to school, I’ll change this. I’ll end reading and writing workshop, asking kids to make plans for tomorrow. I’ll give time for kids to read their plan from the day before. And, I’ll certainly give time to celebrate making, revising, and completing the plans we created.
Kids could share their next steps and making their own “to-do” lists. The more we embed this skill in what we teach, the more kids develop agency. COVID-19 has taught many lessons, and one lesson I want kids to know is how you use your time matters – you can make decisions even when the options are limited. I want kids to see that they are in charge of how they use their time and in charge of their learning.
I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic.