11. Prepared Spontaneity in Lesson Planning
Episode 1131st May 2023 • Counselor Chat Podcast • Carol Miller, School Counselor
00:00:00 00:13:03

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Being spontaneous while being prepared means being ready for unexpected situations while also allowing room for improvisation and creativity. It involves balancing the need for structure and planning with the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.

To achieve this balance, it's important to have a solid foundation of knowledge, skills, and resources, as well as a mindset of openness and adaptability. This means:

  1. Prioritizing the important tasks.
  2. Being Flexible. 
  3. Practicing adaptability. 
  4. Maintaining a positive attitude.  

Resources Mentioned:

Grab the Show Notes: Counselingessentials.org/podcast

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Carol: You're listening to the Counselor Tap Podcast, a show for school counselors looking for easy to implement strategies, how to tips, collaboration, and a little spark of joy. I'm Carol Miller, your host. I'm a full time school counselor and the face behind counseling essentials. I'm all about creating simplified systems, data driven practices, and using creative approaches to age students. If you're looking for a little inspiration to help you make a big impact on student growth and success, you're in the right place, because we're better together. Ready to chat? Let's dive in. Hi counselor friends.

Carol: It's Carol, and thanks for joining me today for another episode of Counselor Chat. I thought I'd start by sharing a little bit about my day today. So I took the morning off for an appointment, and I got to work about noontime, and when I got there, I had completely forgotten everything that I had scheduled in the afternoon, which did include a lesson, a classroom lesson. Now, normally I'm prepared and ready to go. I know what I'm going to be talking about, I know what we're going to be doing. But today it wasn't the case. I was not prepared. This was also a class that had an extra lesson over the course of the month because of how our days fall. We're on a six day rotating cycle, and so I needed something brand new to do with them, and I just wasn't prepared. So sometimes you have to be prepared for spontaneity. So as I'm in a panic thinking, oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? My co counselor, who I share an office with, Ashley, says to me, why don't you do a guided meditation? Because that class loves them. And why don't you? Also, next month we're talking about safety, and they're in fifth grade, so why don't you just ask them? What kind of safety topics are they interested in? I have to say, it was a fabulous idea and I ran with it because let me tell you, friends, I had nothing better. And although I was a little nervous about asking kids, like, what they wanted to learn about, it was probably one of the best lessons that I think I've had with them. It was just so candid, and we were talking and it was just so great. And I really found out what things that they're worried about, how they think about their personal safety and what they're worried about with online safety and even bike safety. I was surprised at the number of kids who wanted to talk about biking safety. So it was a really good lesson, which led me to think maybe being prepared with a little bit of spontaneity isn't such a bad thing. I think we need to be well prepared and we need to be organized when it comes time for lessons. But I think allowing for a little flexibility and adaptability to really meet the needs of our students and respond to, well, the unexpected. In this case, it was me not being prepared because I was gone for the morning. Sometimes even during class, things go off topic a little bit and it's all right to allow that. Spontaneity. All in all though, even when I was doing this lesson, I still had to have some really clear learning objectives. I really had to identify the key concepts and skills that I wanted for my students and try to, of course, design the lesson around the who's. And so my objectives for today were to understand the needs of students in regards to safety, personal safety, body safety, online safety, and then we threw in bike safety as well. I also had to make sure that I was really more flexible than I typically am. Because while I wanted to know certain things, I had to be able to really adjust. What we were talking about on the fly. And listen to kids and really take their information that they were sharing with me and process that and understand that and then be able to respond back to them because I wasn't asking really specific, targeted questions. I was allowing them to really drive the conversation. What it really allowed was to incorporate student voice and choice in their lessons. It really gave them the opportunity to provide input and make choices about their learning. And I think when I think about lesson planning for myself and how important that is and what that means, I'm always saying that planning a lesson, we also have to incorporate Common Core, and Common Core is asking us to have our kids think critically. This lesson, I think, was the epitome of Common Core standards. By incorporating their student voice and giving them choice, having them be responsible for their learning options that are coming next month. And while this format was very, very different than lessons that I typically prepare, I think it's something I'm going to repeat. It was really a different pathway to meeting learning objectives because I have objectives, I want them to meet them and this was just a different pathway. Friends, I think, be open, be adaptable, and understand that in situations that might arise where you're going kind of like fly by night, what am I going to do? Oh my gosh, I need something. Just be adaptable, think of something maybe a little outside the box, maybe even that you're a little bit uncomfortable to do. I will admit today I was a little bit uncomfortable and letting kids really take the lead on telling me what they wanted and what they needed. But all in all, it really was such a great way to hear their voice. And after all, I think as school counselors, we're always asking to hear the student's own voice. I am planning on incorporating this type of lesson into more of my program, even if I have to ask for an extra day to get it in from the teachers to say, hey, can I have like another 30 seconds or another 15 minutes from this period just before lunch on a different day to ask them some of these questions? I think that's going to be really important for the days ahead because I really want to create a learning environment that's structured and flexible and I really want to optimize our student learning and their engagement. I am really hoping that this spontaneity that we had today, that this lesson and giving them this voice and this choice is going to lead to some really great conversations and lessons next month. And I can't wait to share back with you what that may actually look like. Now, in case you're wondering what the whole lesson looked like, once again it was with the fifth grade class, and I started the lesson with a guided meditation. Usually I go in and I'm like asking them questions and I get them all kind of hyped up and I bring them to my energy level because I wanted to really set the tone up for them thinking about things and really engaging and telling me what they wanted. I used that guided meditation to kind of slow them down, get their brains kind of working and focusing, and I wanted kind of a sense of stillness and almost quiet in the room. And so the guided meditation actually allowed me to do that. And then once we were there and we came back from our voyage, as I like to call them, I started to say, all right, now that we're back, I have some things to talk about with you. Next month is Safety Month, and this is what that month means. We're going to be talking about all kinds of safety, and I have to know what safety issues are on your mind. What are you concerned about? And I did tell them some things like we might be talking about relationships when it comes for safety or being in situations that make us uncomfortable or our body safety or physical safety. Maybe it's school safety, maybe it's bikes. I did throw out bike safety, which they were all over, but I didn't mention online safety. But we had a few kids who said, yeah, we want to talk about online safety. And another little guy said, hey, I want to know about what happens when we're playing a game, like an online game, and we feel like the conversations are not being too safe there. So I was really impressed by the answers that they gave. And like I said, it was all student driven. Driven. I gave them a little bit, a little nugget of this is what I'm looking for, and they just ran with it. And I have to admit, almost every single hand was up and kids really wanted to share. I always have kids sharing and I always have kids participating and they're always engaged in my lessons because I hype them up a lot, but this one, which was low keyed and Mellow was really great and I had a different kind of engagement, but it was really insightful and I'm really proud of this class as well. So if you have questions about this process, let me know. If you use this process yourself, hey, I want to hear about it. I want to hear about other ways that I can be prepared or use prepared botanity. I think it's really, really important. And like I said, it is something I know I am going to use again. If you are interested in the guided meditations that I use, I will also put a link to them so that you can see exactly what I used. And if you have any questions, reach out. Anyway, friends, thank you for letting me share my day with you. I can't wait to share again the results of the lessons that we're going to put together based on their needs. So I'll be sharing those with you in future episodes. But please share this episode if you have somebody that you think could benefit or would like it, that would mean so, so much to me. Especially since this is a relatively new podcast and most people probably don't even know I'm on the air yet. So your sharing really helps to get the word out. Until next time. Can't wait till we chat again. Bye for now.

Carol: Thanks for listening to today's episode of Counselor Chat. All of the links I talked about can be found in the Show Notes and@counselingsentials.org Podcasts. Be sure to hit, follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast player. And if you would be so kind.

Carol: To leave a review, I'd really appreciate it. Want to connect?

Carol: Send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram at counseling essentials. Until next time. Can't wait till we chat. Bye for now.




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