What is Symphonic Planning?

What is Symphonic Planning

Using a single research-based strategy or a single exemplary practice effectively in a lesson will yield positive results for learning for most students. And depending on the strategy or practice, it produces much, much more learning than not using it! Usually, teachers have a few strategies that they like to use with students. Choosing whether to use one of them (and when) is often an arbitrary decision that “strikes” a teacher when planning the lesson. Often, teachers rely on a single favorite strategy to work with all students. What about choosing strategies for students from homes of poverty? What about strategies for students who are struggling? Strategies for students who are more advanced? The diversity of student learning needs is typically not an intentional part of the planning process for planning instruction.

However, what happens when strategies are chosen a little more purposefully? What happens when teachers purposefully weave two strategies into a lesson? Or when 5 or even 6 are integrated intentionally? They are all good individually, but together they create a symphony of learning power. Separate, each strategy may be functional and work, but together they form the most powerful lessons for all students. Symphonic Planning is identifying the separate parts, but, most importantly, also envisioning the whole picture and how all of the parts relate. It is this purposeful connection of strategies that create lessons you can believe in for producing learning for all students.

Musicians spend hours practicing, receiving feedback, and learning new techniques in order to be successful. Generally, teachers are not provided time to hone their craft, nor time and opportunities to acquire additional strategies and skills to reinforce their instructional methods. Instead of the customary routine of expecting teachers to become experts immediately following a single workshop or course, The Learning-Focused Instructional Framework introduces schools to a hybrid professional learning model that develops knowledge and skills with the high levels of support, guided practice, feedback, and time needed to deepen knowledge and refine skills. An orchestra plays a symphony together creating beautiful, moving music, and the composer understands each instrument’s contribution in order to compose and orchestrate the symphony. With Symphonic Planning from Learning-Focused, teachers will know the most effective strategies and practices for learning, and how they work together in harmony with the curriculum to create dynamic and effective lessons.

The Learning-Focused Instructional Framework is learned in 3 stages. The first stage is learning the basic framework – The High Performance Learning-Focused Lessons. It is the foundation for the framework where you will learn how to plan and use a standards driven, backward planning Learning-Focused lesson. In stage 2 (Increasing the Rigor of Learning-Focused Lessons: Higher Order Thinking, Reading and Writing) and stage 3 (Accelerating Learning-Focused Lessons: Catching Kids Up) you will extend your knowledge and skills of the framework. Depending on your goals, there may be additional stages as well.

Don Marlett

Don has been an educator for 20+ years. Before joining Learning-Focused, he taught High School and Middle School Science and was a school administrator. Don has participated in school evaluations focused on implementing High-Yield Strategies. In addition, he partnered with various state DOEs to support leaders and presented at numerous conferences hosted by multiple leadership organizations in Florida, NC, Ohio, WV, TN, and KY. Don leads product development, provides leadership training and coaching, and coaches educators in the implementation of High-Yield strategies.

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