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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Hello educators and welcome to Teacher Tips. This week we're looking at an online lesson planning tool, Common Cirriculum. In the classroom I spent a lot of time creating lesson plans. Well, Common Cirriculum allows us to create template based lesson plans and even organizes those lessons in to a teaching calendar. The real power of Common Curriculum is in our ability to then collaborate with other educators, make these lessons available to our students online, and even quickly adjust our teaching calendar when the unexpected happens. Here in my web browser, I've already logged into Common Curriculum.
The view that we're currently looking at is my entire week of teaching. These are using some sample classes that are built into the Common Curriculum platform so we can get an idea of how Common Curriculum works. As I scroll down the page I can see exactly what the classes I'm teaching as when. I can also see the lesson plan for each of those classes. As you look at these lesson plans, you can see that they're broken into sections. Each section, can actually be built into a template that I use to make future lesson plans for each of these individual classes. If this is your first time getting started, you'll need to go ahead and take a couple of minutes to create your free account.
Once logged in, I suggest starting at the "Classes, Schedules and Settings" tab in the upper navigation. From this area you can use the large blue button to add classes to your Common Curriculum site. Here I have 3 sample classes already added. Once you've added all your classes you can then take a look at the repeating schedules tab in Step 2 and you can choose to add a start date and end date for your classes. As I scroll down I can also select what days of the week that these classes fall on. For example, I can choose to have a class that's only every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and quickly add it to my schedule.
As you're scheduling your classes. You can also see a visual layout of what your schedule looks like for each of the classes that you're teaching. The last step is to go ahead and create the templates you'll use as you start lesson planning for these various classes. In Step 3, Templates, on the left hand side I can chose to select a class and then on the right hand side I can create a template for that class. All the template is doing is really saying what sections you commonly have in each of your classes. For example, I may chose to add a section to this lesson plan template that's called "Morning Drill". So now when new classes are created for this particular 7th grade science class, every single one of those classes will automatically have a section added that says "Morning Drill".
I can continue to add as many sections as I'd like and I can even add filler text. Now just because I've created a lesson plan template on this particular section, at any time you have the ability to go in and remove or even change the order of these sections when you're actually lesson planning. Once you've created your classes, added repeating schedules, and created your templates, you can then go ahead and start lesson planning. If I click on the "Date" tab, I now have the opportunity to go into an individual lesson, and I can go ahead and change any of these elements. Now this plan has already been created.
I can see that there's a standards section, an objective section, there's some instructions and even homework for a student. At any time, if I want to change one of these, I can use the small drop down arrow on the right hand side and choose to move it around, copy it or even delete it. Now, if you notice next to homework, there's a small globe. That globe means that the homework section for this particular day is showing up on my classroom website. The classroom website is automatically created for you when you create your account with Common Curriculum. In the "Setting" section you can choose to turn your classroom website off, and you can also choose to have future events or only the most recent events showing up on the website.
One thing that's really great is, let's say I didn't get through all the instructions for this particular day. Well, I could simply come into my lesson plan after the lesson's happened, click on Instructions, and then click show on website. I've now made this available to all of my students when they head home. You'll also notice that I have the ability to attach documents inside of a lesson plan. This way you can use Common Curriculum to organize all the different documents and elements, that are associated with this particular lesson. As I click through the calendar I have the opportunity to go through and lay out multiple days worth of instruction. I can also choose to view the calendar, at a week at a glance, a month at a glance, or even a long-range planner.
Now the long-range planner brings in the ideas that I can use, units. Now the best part about Common Curriculum is almost every single element inside of it is drag and drop. Now I don't think I typically move a seventh grade science unit to my fifth grade math class, but just to model this, I can come over here and click on the move icon next to any unit, and I can simply drag it over to another class. So with just a few mouse clicks, I've created a new unit with corresponding lessons. I can always go back to my week or month at a glance calendar, find the particular unit that I'm working on and edit those lesson plans.
Now that we've explored a little bit of what Common Curriculum is, and how it lays out our teaching calendar and how we can create template based lesson plans, in the next video, we'll go ahead and take a look at how we can save time by bumping lessons, collaborating with other educators, and even taking a look at our classroom website.
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