An Economics Teacher – using simple IT for lesson planning

Since I have been teaching I have always had a laptop on my desk. I am therefore perhaps one of a rare breed to teachers that are digital natives to teaching. My dad took the first Computer Engineering course available in University in New Zealand so perhaps it is in my blood.

I use a variety of tools that make the lesson planning aspect of  my life easier.

Electronic Unit Plans (see sample below)

I have never been the most organised of teachers, but I enjoy having everything accessible and close. I there always create unit plans using a pretty similar format. Since I became a teacher in a rich 1 to 1 environment, I find my unit plans very useful.

I set out each lesson in a row of a table. Some units such as teaching Elasticities have about 10 distinct lessons, which obviously meld into each other. These lesson plans are just a few bullet points but contain hyperlinks to remind me what I used in previous years. It is good to remember that you can hyperlink documents that reside on your computer as well as external websites, blogs or videos. Here is a little sample below.

The important part of these lesson plans are that they evolve and change constantly. After teaching a lesson that went well, I will go back and add these ideas. I always find the funniest thing about a teacher is that your greatest inpiration and best ideas come in the last five minutes before a lesson, or even during a lesson. A good practise is to therefore document these ideas to improve the teaching process, and to act as a self reminder.

I keep each topic plan, in the same document as the larger section of the curriculum. My plans for Micro Economics are therefore a very large document. This means that I use only five documents across a two year course.

As a sole teacher, this process is obviously pretty easier. I also wonder how teachers in very large department share ideas and documentation. It would be very easy to put these topic plans into a Google Doc and for teachers to collaborate, but I guess most teachers also like a degree of independence. Our school uses a tool called Atlas Rubicon for documenting the curriculum electronically. I dump my unit plans into the system at the end of each year. I struggle to use Atlas in real-time, like a word document as it always seems like a thousand clicks away in cyberspace.

Topic Overview – I pillaged some of the learning objectives from textbook and Jason Welker’s amazing wiki

Lesson Planning – generally some brief ideas and then links to activities

Lessons and Assessments – some specific ideas about formative and summative assessment

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