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Double Planning

Instruction

What is Double Planning?

According to Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College, teachers plan what they will be doing during the course of a lesson, but they often forget to plan what the students will be doing. Double planning is the concept of thinking about and planning intentionally for what the students will do, so that you can keep them productively engaged in a lesson. In a classroom context, this might take the form of designing a graphic organizer for students to use as they take notes on your lecture. Other types of activities you can double plan for in a classroom include:

  • Listening quietly
  • Responding to whole-class call and response prompts
  • “Think, pair, share” discussion with a neighbor
  • Taking notes on a notebook page
  • Reflecting quietly and sketching a response

Lemov explains that double planning can help educators analyze their plans to ensure that students change pace and engage in a variety of activities during the course of a lesson or day.

Double Planning in Outdoor Education

Double planning is especially and uniquely important in outdoor education activities such as

These activities, staples of many outdoor education programs, present wonderful learning opportunities but can be logistically challenging. The instructor begins walking down a trail alone, and another adult (usually a chaperone) sends students one at a time after the instructor. This means that each student goes through the activity on a different schedule. Because you as the educator will not be present with the students until they meet you at the end of the trail, you must plan for students beginning and finishing at different times and for leaving students with a chaperone to whom you may not have much time to explain directions. This makes double planning and providing clear, concise instructions very important.

At any given point in a solo walk or E1T1, students may be doing one of three things. Double planning will look different for each of these stages:

  1. Beginning: Waiting (most likely with a chaperone) for their turn to begin the activity.
  2. Middle: Participating in the primary activity.
  3. End: Waiting (most likely with you, the educator) after finishing the primary activity.

Double planning for the middle stage is important, but it will look similar to double planning in a classroom setting. The beginning and end stages offer unique challenges.

Double Planning for the Beginning

While students are waiting with a chaperone for their turn to begin, double planning may be especially important. Chances are, your chaperone is a parent who has little to no experience teaching or facilitating large groups of students. Being left alone with students for up to 20 minutes can be understandably scary and stressful! Leaving your chaperone with some clear, simple activities for students to do can alleviate stress and chaos. Activities double planned for this circumstance should be easy to roll out, require little explanation or moderation, and should be something that students can easily leave mid-activity to start their solo walk or E1T1.

Here are some ideas for chaperone double planning:

Double Planning for the End

Students will meet you at the end of the trail individually over the course of up to 30 minutes. How will you double plan so that students who have finished remain engaged while maintaining an appropriate learning environment for the later students? Come prepared with a pre-written list of many activities for students to complete at the end of a solo walk or E1T1. Plan more than you think students could possibly finish in the time allotted; that way, even speedy workers will remain occupied with meaningful work as they wait for their peers to finish. Begin the list with those tasks that are essential to your lesson objectives – assessment pieces would be first on the list. Later tasks on the list can be those that you don’t mind if not all students get to, but they should not be pointless “busy work.” This is a great opportunity for differentiation: you can intentionally place students who need a greater challenge near the front of the line so they have time to work on an activity later on the list that is more complex or challenging.

As you choose activities for this list, consider the atmosphere you’d like all students to enter as they finish their activity. At the end of a silent, reflective solo walk, for example, you might wish

to maintain silence so you might choose activities that can be completed independently without talking. Here are some ideas to add to your list of ending activities for students:

  • Answer pre-written debrief questions in a journal. They might finish answering the questions they started at the beginning.
  • Write instructor feedback (at the end of the week)
  • Participate in a “silent conversation”: respond in writing to prompts you have pre-written on whiteboards or large sheets of paper
  • Write and illustrate a “thank you card” to some element of the natural world
  • Create an Andy Goldsworthy-style nature art piece to express the day’s theme or a certain learning target (can be done individually or collaboratively)
  • Free explore (make sure to give clear boundaries and consider whether this will be a distraction for those still finishing)

Why Does it Matter?

By carefully double planning outdoor activities like E1T1 and solo walk, you can ensure that students remain engaged and throughout the whole lesson, maximizing learning time and meeting your instructional objectives.

What is Double Planning?

According to Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College, teachers plan what they will be doing during the course of a lesson, but they often forget to plan what the students will be doing. Double planning is the concept of thinking about and planning intentionally for what the students will do, so that you can keep them productively engaged in a lesson. In a classroom context, this might take the form of designing a graphic organizer for students to use as they take notes on your lecture. Other types of activities you can double plan for in a classroom include:

  • Listening quietly
  • Responding to whole-class call and response prompts
  • “Think, pair, share” discussion with a neighbor
  • Taking notes on a notebook page
  • Reflecting quietly and sketching a response

Lemov explains that double planning can help educators analyze their plans to ensure that students change pace and engage in a variety of activities during the course of a lesson or day.

Double Planning in Outdoor Education

Double planning is especially and uniquely important in outdoor education activities such as

These activities, staples of many outdoor education programs, present wonderful learning opportunities but can be logistically challenging. The instructor begins walking down a trail alone, and another adult (usually a chaperone) sends students one at a time after the instructor. This means that each student goes through the activity on a different schedule. Because you as the educator will not be present with the students until they meet you at the end of the trail, you must plan for students beginning and finishing at different times and for leaving students with a chaperone to whom you may not have much time to explain directions. This makes double planning and providing clear, concise instructions very important.

At any given point in a solo walk or E1T1, students may be doing one of three things. Double planning will look different for each of these stages:

  1. Beginning: Waiting (most likely with a chaperone) for their turn to begin the activity.
  2. Middle: Participating in the primary activity.
  3. End: Waiting (most likely with you, the educator) after finishing the primary activity.

Double planning for the middle stage is important, but it will look similar to double planning in a classroom setting. The beginning and end stages offer unique challenges.

Double Planning for the Beginning

While students are waiting with a chaperone for their turn to begin, double planning may be especially important. Chances are, your chaperone is a parent who has little to no experience teaching or facilitating large groups of students. Being left alone with students for up to 20 minutes can be understandably scary and stressful! Leaving your chaperone with some clear, simple activities for students to do can alleviate stress and chaos. Activities double planned for this circumstance should be easy to roll out, require little explanation or moderation, and should be something that students can easily leave mid-activity to start their solo walk or E1T1.

Here are some ideas for chaperone double planning:

Double Planning for the End

Students will meet you at the end of the trail individually over the course of up to 30 minutes. How will you double plan so that students who have finished remain engaged while maintaining an appropriate learning environment for the later students? Come prepared with a pre-written list of many activities for students to complete at the end of a solo walk or E1T1. Plan more than you think students could possibly finish in the time allotted; that way, even speedy workers will remain occupied with meaningful work as they wait for their peers to finish. Begin the list with those tasks that are essential to your lesson objectives – assessment pieces would be first on the list. Later tasks on the list can be those that you don’t mind if not all students get to, but they should not be pointless “busy work.” This is a great opportunity for differentiation: you can intentionally place students who need a greater challenge near the front of the line so they have time to work on an activity later on the list that is more complex or challenging.

As you choose activities for this list, consider the atmosphere you’d like all students to enter as they finish their activity. At the end of a silent, reflective solo walk, for example, you might wish

to maintain silence so you might choose activities that can be completed independently without talking. Here are some ideas to add to your list of ending activities for students:

  • Answer pre-written debrief questions in a journal. They might finish answering the questions they started at the beginning.
  • Write instructor feedback (at the end of the week)
  • Participate in a “silent conversation”: respond in writing to prompts you have pre-written on whiteboards or large sheets of paper
  • Write and illustrate a “thank you card” to some element of the natural world
  • Create an Andy Goldsworthy-style nature art piece to express the day’s theme or a certain learning target (can be done individually or collaboratively)
  • Free explore (make sure to give clear boundaries and consider whether this will be a distraction for those still finishing)

Why Does it Matter?

By carefully double planning outdoor activities like E1T1 and solo walk, you can ensure that students remain engaged and throughout the whole lesson, maximizing learning time and meeting your instructional objectives.

About the Author
Emma Cornwell

Emma Cornwell is a graduate student and instructor in IslandWood’s Education for Environment and Community in partnership with University of Washington. She began her outdoor education career as a Food Corps service member in Iowa, where she taught school garden-based nutrition lessons as a way to connect kids with real food and help them grow up healthy. Emma is passionate about empowering students to construct their own knowledge while building a strong sense of place. After earning her Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington, she plans to teach elementary students in, and outside of, a classroom.