This Wasn’t in the Lesson Plan

I’ve been spending the last few nights working on lesson plans and trying to get ahead. Trying to map out what the rest of the year is going to look like, because state testing is right around the corner. I fully understand that lesson plans are important, but sometimes… there is more to learning than what is written down in the lesson plan. Sometimes… we take a detour and end up far away from where we had planned. Sometimes… the questions lead to new learning opportunities. Sometimes… students need a little more help than what we anticipated. Sometimes… they understand faster than predicted. And sometimes… we just have to take a step back and remember that they are kids.

So many times, we are focused on data driven instruction and where they currently are, where they have to be, and on creating plans to help them get where they need to be by the end of the school year. We sometimes forget that they are only 10 and 11 years old and in the 5th grade.

Today, I was reminded that sometimes… leaving the lesson plan behind and just letting them take a minute to get recentered is important. One of my students (who can sometimes be a little rambunctious) was not themselves this morning. Typically, they are all over the room and having to be redirected throughout the entire RtI block. This morning they just sat there. When I called them over to me, I asked what was wrong and all they could do was shrug. They had no clue what was wrong just that they were not feeling it today. At this point, all I could think about was that we are six weeks from the state test and every minute counts. But then I remembered: sometimes… you need to take a step back and remember that they are a kid.

So, I asked if they just wanted to run errands for me and sit next to me so it looks like I’m “working” in case the principal walks in. (I know that my admin. would understand that I was sitting with the student and doing anything but reading, but the student needed to feel like they were helping me more than I was helping them.) The relief on their face was instantaneous. They thought that I was going to make them work no matter what. Instead, this student ran a few errands and sat with me so it looked like I was “working”. I would love to say that when they left after the RtI block that they were their typical self, but they weren’t. So I made them promise that they would try in first period and if they still weren’t feeling it when they came to me for second period that they would only have to do the bare minimum. I wouldn’t call on them unless they raised their hand or ask them to work in a group, they would just have to show they were paying attention.

I know that there are days when adults just don’t feel it and only do the bare minimum. I know that I am guilty of this. So why, do we sometimes forget that kids just don’t feel it either?!? I hope that after today, I remember that sometimes… throwing the lesson plan in the trash and going with what the day brings is perfectly fine.

3 thoughts on “This Wasn’t in the Lesson Plan

  1. I wouldn’t consider that throwing the lesson plan in the trash but rather making an instructional adjustment (and I am an administrator). Thank you for knowing your students and being responsive to their needs. Wishing you a perfectly fine day tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen! We call this responsive teaching and knowing our kids and what they need! No lesson plan matters unless a kid is ready to learn–you are wise and caring to know that and to act on it! This moment you described is the kinda of “stuff” a kid will remember! Yay you!

    Liked by 1 person

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