I introduced the idea of Plan Boxes (see Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for grades 3-5 if you want more info on these amazing management tools!) to my class today. While some of them were familiar with the idea of creating a plan, I found myself implementing stricter guidelines with them this year than I had in the past. For instance, I required that their plan be at least three steps long. Then I said that “getting to my seat” couldn’t be part of the plan. That definitely threw some kids for a loop. I had a few sitting with me on the rug for about ten minutes trying to come up with a good plan for the day.
When plan boxes work well (and they do… they just have to be taught explicitly), they’re a great management tool for the Writing Workshop, allowing kids to work independently and thoughtfully throughout the independent writing time (leaving time for you to confer with your other students).