If you’re anything like we were in those first few years of teaching, your standard routine likely looks something like this.
Wake up early, teach all day, work all night, barely have time to take a shower and eat dinner (forget about working out or time for yourself), and then you wake up and do it all over again.
The weekends probably aren’t any better. Perhaps you take Friday night off and Saturday, but come Sunday, you’re right back to working – grading (or pretending like you’re going to grade) that massive pile of essays sitting in your teacher bag, dreading the week ahead because you’re just going to be burning the candles at both ends day in and day out.
Trust us when we say, we have been there! We were you!
And if this doesn’t describe you, more power to you – keep ROCKING it!
But, if what we just described resonates with you and perfectly (or even closely) depicts how you’re operating day after day, we’re here to tell you that the single most effective thing you can do to get out of that constant state of overwhelm is to BATCH PLAN.
Literally, if you’re looking for the magic “thing” to change everything for you. Batch planning is it.
In this post, we’re just going to cover some of the basics so you can at least get an idea of what it entails and get started at a novice level. But like any skill in life, batch planning takes practice and refining over time.
In fact, there are so many little components to batch planning that we wrote an entire book talking about our EB Lesson Planning Framework and batch planning.
But like I said, for now, this post will cover the basics for you, so you can at least get started this weekend.
At the most basic level, to batch plan means to sit down for a chunk of time and completely plan out your lessons for an entire year, an entire unit, or a period of time.
So to get started, take these steps:
Schedule a set time to actually batch plan.
Pick a weekend and for 5-6 hours on both days, plan to be planning 🙂 Grab snacks, drinks, all of your books, supplies, activities you want to teach, whatever else you need, and get focused. What’s great about batch planning is that you won’t be wasting time context-switching. You will be hyper-focused on the task at hand and will be able to knock out quite a bit of your planning in just that weekend alone.
If this is your first time attempting this, plan in increments.
We generally suggest 90-day cycles because humans tend to stay focused for about 90 days and then need to come back. In our business practices at EB Academics, this is why we plan based on quarterly goals – the same concept applies to batch planning. However, 90 days might be a little lofty if you’re just getting your feet wet. Try to plan at the very least for 2 weeks, if you can, get an entire month or unit completed.
As you’re planning, you’ll want to choose content standards and use them as your North Star.
The standards (whichever ones you use) should 100% guide your activities, lessons, everything. If something you want to bring into a lesson doesn’t cover or address a standard, perhaps it’s time to really take a hard look at that particular activity – does it really need to be included? Is it really going to help my students master the standards? Using the standards gives everything intention and purpose.
You absolutely MUST include Floating Days.
No matter how great of a batch planner you become, it’s inevitable that something will happen that throws off your best-laid plans. Including 2 floating days per unit or per month is the key to being able to make quick adjustments and move things that you have planned back. If you don’t do this, you’re going to end up with plans that never get used or you’ll feel stressed and pressed for time to get through a unit. And what’s great is if you don’t use these floating days, you can easily use a stand-alone lesson like our Whodunnit Detective Lesson to get students highly engaged while also hitting on those standards.
More blog posts on batch planning:
Most podcast episodes on batch planning: