By Katie Choate
Reading about the double planning technique that Lemov suggests caused a very bright light bulb to go off in my head. It’s not a totally new or innovative concept, it’s just that I had never heard it named or described before. It makes complete sense. It’s also something I already do, but need to start doing better. Double planning is making sure specific details are worked out throughout my lessons on my side, but also planning just as intricately for the students. It’s all about anticipation! I need to be able to anticipate what the students will be able to handle, what kind of time frame they will need for something, how high expectations should be set, and how fast we can move through something. I need to be prepared for what, as my mom would say, “monkey wrench” they will throw my way. This concept does not in any way frighten me when it comes to 9th graders. I am so familiar with this grade level that I almost believe I think like a 9th grader sometimes (as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog!). However, the idea that I may or may not have 9th graders in the near future has me looking closer at how this double planning actually is put in place.
Lemov breaks it down into 6 goals. The goals are basically 1) everything students need, needs to be in one place 2) pacing is key 3) students need to be accountable 4) checking for understanding 5) anticipate success and 6) adaptability. The example in the text discusses beginning this with a packet of work. The idea is that the students move through the packet seamlessly and the teacher can quickly and easily check for understanding and either pick up the pace or slow down as necessary without missing a beat. The students would really not even know the original plan had changed. Like I said before, I think I could successfully plan something like this for 9th graders. I’m glad to have read how to break it down now though, so I can successfully plan this for other grade levels or classes in the future. I do think one thing successful teachers do is anticipate what students will say, do, or how they will react to something. The lessons where it doesn’t work so well are the ones where the students behaved in a way not according to the original plan. I’ve never felt like my plan was what went south, it was always the way I anticipated the students reacting to my plan that didn’t go well. So being able to plan their reaction accurately will always make the class/lesson run smoother.