Case Study: Getting Started with the Primary Planning Tool
We recently asked one of our newest community members to document the initial processes they used when implementing the Primary Planning Tool. Like many of you around the country, Our Lady’s Grove were looking to create a uniformed system which streamlined the planning process and allowed them to focus on the art of teaching.
Implementing the Primary Planning Tool
We have recently adopted the Primary Planning Tool into our primary school in Dublin. We are a big school with sixteen class teachers and eight learning support teachers. As we have two teachers at every class level, we knew that a certain amount of coordination would be necessary, in order to introduce the Primary Planning Tool. We decided, as a school, that the best way to start was by first entering our Long-term Plans for each class level. We chose Maths as our first subject as it is straightforward, with clear strands and strand units.
To begin with, we called an IT meeting, we have six teachers on our IT team, including our principal. The IT team leader is also a sixth class teacher. She printed out her current long-term plans and gave everyone a copy. On a whiteboard, she displayed the Primary Planning Tool and logged in as herself (sixth class teacher). While looking at the printed version of her existing long-term plan, she selected the relevant strand from the drop-down menu, and then clicked on the objectives within each strand unit that she could see was assigned to the month of September.
She then added the objectives to the month of September. As we were all holding the printed version of her plans and could see clearly on the board what she was clicking, we all understood the process in a matter of minutes. We could also see the objectives building in the month of September in the panel on the left-hand side of the screen.
The IT leader then invited each member of the team up to complete a month each of her Maths plans. Once we had all completed a month of her sixth class maths plan we were confident we knew how to use the tool.
The following week as part of our Croke Park hours, the whole school had to complete one hour of planning after school. We split up our IT team amongst the staff, ensuring that one member of the team was with each class level. The two fifth class teachers had a member of the IT team working with them, the two fourth class teachers had a member of the IT team etc.
The IT team member did a demonstration modelling what their IT team leader did for them. For example, in fifth class, the IT member had a printed copy of the fifth class Maths long-term plan. The IT member modelled entering the strands and strand units for the month of September following the printed version of the plans. He then invited each of the teachers in turn to complete a month. The fifth class teachers then continued month by month until they had completed their long-term plan for the year.
By working this way, all class teachers in our school got their long-term Maths plan entered within the one hour designated towards planning that week.
Our plan is to have long-term plans for Maths and all non-core subjects entered by the end of June. We will then enter English and Gaeilge during our Croke Park day in August before school begins. Our goal this week is Science.
We don’t expect that our class teachers will need the aid of a member of the IT team, but our team is on stand-by just in case.
Author: Aisling Maher is a teacher from Kilkenny. She has been working as a 6th class teacher at Our Lady’s Grove for the past 3 years.
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