06 September 2015

Sra. Spanglish Tech Tips: Common Curriculum

Common Curriculum is a website that lets me set up my plans in a way that works for me--and then rearrange my plans in a way that works for me too!

After all, the best laid plans of mice and men are always going to do what best laid plans do. And it's such a help to have a planning platform--a FREE planning platform--that is as flexible as me and my classroom!

Out with the old

This is what last
semester looked like.
For YEARS I just made big ol' tables in Google Docs of my entire course, color coding workdays and holidays so I didn't inadvertently plan them away. Then last year, somebody got a bee in their bonnet and decided we all needed to have state objectives clearly labeled on our lessons, so I developed a more detailed weekly spreadsheet...which I may or may not have kept up with by May.

By about July, however, I started planning ahead for the next year, what with my passion from the start pretty much being a done deal in Spanish I here on out (hooking with relevance and a little gamification grabs even the most distractible!) So I took the tasks that worked before and tweaked the agenda a bit, adding in interactive notebook pages for key information at strategic points.

This is actually the adjusted version
of August, after reality set in.
I put these pages and due dates on a Google Calendar to give me a skeleton of at least the first unit--one that I could easily shift around with a click and a drag...even if I still had to cut and paste everything on the spreadsheet I fleshed out based on the shifted due dates.

In with Common Curriculum

I am forever indebted to my Pinnacle amigo, Sr. Wilson, for just offhandedly mentioning Common Curriculum to me during our Pinnacle training this summer. It took two days into the semester when something took longer than it should and one class had to take a college placement test before and my whole table was suddenly a mess.

After all, I now knew there was an easier way out there!

Here are some things I've been able to do with it since this serendipitous revelation:
  • Create my own template with the kind of stuff I actually do day to day.
  • Add new boxes and specifics for different activities, take stuff out, rearrange.
  • Make notes when something doesn't work or one class needs to come back to an activity the next day.

    • Lay out the main topics for the month for all of my preps--2 different ways!
    • Move any activity--or day's plans--around anywhere! (It is a little trickier from one week to another though.)

    Now I do still keep the Google Calendar for the kiddos for easy sharing on the class webpage and kind of a more condensed outline for myself. I also still have my master spreadsheet, since I'd already made it and all, in part so I can copy and paste what I laboriously fleshed out this summer. Not to mention the fact that my principal's trying to go all 21st Century and have us submit plans on Google Classroom, and, alas things like creating a PDF of your plans or planning by unit or collaboratively are paid features. Also, sometimes I really wish I could pick my own colors for each block rather than running through a rainbow of blocks before I get the one I want.

    I'd really like to see some other templates that creative teachers have come up with for their lesson plans and hear your tips on how to get even more out of planning with Common Curriculum. 

    How could this platform work for you?


    1. Hi, I am just now looking into all of your posts in your website. Thank you for sharing all of your hard work with others. Do you still use this platform of common curriculum after a couple of years?

      1. I do! Maybe not as fully or consistently as I should, but I actually just copied last year's lessons to this year for revising!