Power of the plan: Teachers follow new path for classroom planning

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another story in a series on the Harlingen school district’s new teacher evaluation system.

HARLINGEN — Harlingen school teachers have shown talent in the way they plan their lessons.

They’ve continuously redesigned their lessons to include collaborative learning, project-based learning, technology and other approaches.

This robust process of transformation has taken place under the guidance of the Harlingen school district’s 2014 Strategic Plan titled, “Transforming Learning For Global Achievement.”

The process continues this school year. Teachers will use the Teaching and Learning Framework to design their lesson plans, said Veronica Kortan, administrator for organizational development.

“That lays the foundation for the rest of what you’re going to do in the classroom,” Kortan said. “If we have very solid practices with planning, then we know that’s going to translate into the classroom.”

Because these solid teaching practices and detailed planning are maintaining such a strong presence in the classroom, they’re having a direct impact on students. Detailed lesson plans create the immediate result of capturing a student’s curiosity.

From there, innovative approaches to education can create excitement about the learning process. The student becomes engaged, learning becomes permanently imprinted, and it can play a major role in his or her future. Ultimately, this kind of planning with innovative strategies such as real-world learning and collaboration can be a powerful tool in college and the workforce.

The framework is closely aligned with the Planning Domain of the new T-TESS – Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System. Kortan said the framework is probably the biggest change resulting from T-TESS.

Teacher evaluations had indicated a need to strengthen teachers’ planning skills. Teachers had also expressed a desire to improve their lesson plans.

“We heard over and over that teachers wanted some guidance on the planning,” Kortan said.

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