Planning and Organizing
Morgan transformed the physical look of the school, from her classroom out
to the halls, from the walls to the ceiling, and even into the bus parking lot.
She was an amazing artist in her own right, but she was also an extraordi-
narily effective teacher. Not only did her art lessons involve planning what
techniques and media students would focus on, but she also met with core
content teachers (math, science, social studies, and English) to link her
instruction with theirs. Morgan planned for her classes to work outside of the
classroom by painting murals around the school themed to the content areas.
For her students to create these instructional masterpieces, she carefully
monitored her meager art supplies and found ways to make them stretch,
such as buying the “oops” paint (i.e., paint that is returned to the store) at the
hardware store for big projects. Her students developed skills, shared their
talents, and left a legacy to the school.
Teaching is a complex activity that involves careful preparation and planning objectives and activities on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis. In addition, long-term planning ensures coverage of curriculum across a marking period, semester, and year. Further, effective educators demonstrate high expectations for students and select strategies to propel the students' learning. Beyond planning and preparation of materials, effective organizing for instruction also involves the development of a conscious orientation toward teaching and learning as the central focus of classroom activity. Teaching and learning as a focus must be consistently communicated to students in the classroom and to observers. This chapter explores elements of organizing and orienting for instruction that have been identified as part of effective teaching practice. Figure 4.1, at the end of this chapter, outlines key references relating to these elements.