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Decisive Teachers’ 2010-2011 AY Prep Checklist

A Learners’ View (ALV) Is Of Choices On The Shortest And Fastest Path To Learning, The Oxygen Of Social Life.

Main Article: Checklists for Educators

Ms. Donna Pahl (Wilkinson)* reviews the checklist she uses as a classroom teacher at a Normsville, Illinois public school. Her classroom activities inspired the term Decisive Teacher.

She uses what she calls “The Pass It Forward” strategy. “I keep and review my notes of what worked and didn’t work as preparation for the next time I present that lesson. I keep my list on my Tablet PC, so updating is an easy routine of 120+/- seconds after each session. Other teachers in her school use TouchScreen or mini PCs. Teachers in other schools may adjust this checklist to fit their situations,” she said. Ms. Pahl works with other teachers in her school throughout the year, so each completes these checklists on time and without last minute rushes or panics.

1.0 Spring 2009

1.1 Update 2008-2009 notes lesson by lesson of what worked, what didn’t work, and what to do differently when presenting that lesson next time.

1.2 Update list of student comments lesson by lesson about what worked, what didn’t work, and what to do differently next time for each lesson.

1.2 Update list of comments from other teachers of what worked for them, what didn’t work, and what they plan to do differently next time.

1.3 Update list of material, hardware and software updates, Internet sites, etc. to use next time lesson by lesson.

1.4 Update list of changes on classroom website to make during summer break, e.g., refresh appearance, remove dated posts, edit assignments and schedules.

1.5 Establish a classroom Twitter account and link it to new posts on classroom website.

1.6 Update notes for possible changes to daily classroom procedure checklists for teacher and students.

1.7 Review accumulated list of state standardized test items students reported in class while debriefing them after they took the test.

1.8 Review your list of grant application deadlines. Decide rank as top priority the one that you have classroom data to support and that will accelerate your students’ learning the most.

1.9 Send an email to the district’s grants office. Advise them that you want to review helping them prepare a competitive proposal for funding XYZ for your class.

1.10 Post a prompt to pop-up on screen with each lesson plan your balance of direct and directed instruction with direct learning by students.

2.0 Summer, 2009

2.1 Reread Milo O. Frank’s book How to get your point across in 30 seconds – or less. You have 30 seconds to establish control of the lesson.

2.2 Practice presenting lesson purposes in 140 characters or less for Twitter posts. Remind students what they did today and what they’ll do tomorrow.

2.3 Review state minimum academic standards for changes, including in wording, item by item to match lesson by lesson for each subject contracted to teach. Remove chance from meeting these standards.

2.4 Review your analysis of each of your standards to make sure lessons cover all of them before the scheduled standardized test.

2.5 Count the number of state standard subsets required to teach during the 2010-2011 AY. Compare and reconcile with last year’s count.

2.6 Draft / Edit the checklist of new vocabulary words required for students to meet these standards for each subject. Edit out your list by 10 percent from last year (combine at least 10 percent of what you will do).

2.7 Draft / Edit the comprehensive checklist of skills and information students will manage to meet minimum academic standards for each subject. Prepare the list for posting on your classroom website, so students may copy it for their individual use.

2.8 Post vocabulary and skills checklists for 2010-2011 AY on classroom website for public view. Prepare a sheet to copy for manual distribution.

2.9 Calculate the mean/average number of seconds to allow for each part of each standard during the minimum number of school days scheduled. Post this on classroom website.

2.10 Review assigned textbooks and learning material to decide how to cover that information and skills in the number of seconds allotted. This gets to the heart of what to do for effective lesson planning.

2.10 Adjust lessons to match these expectations, including software, Internet links to content, homework, etc. Prepare a separate checklist for each content section, so you know what to order when.

Most experienced teachers have checklists in their heads. This post serves them as a reminder of minimum preparation to complete before closing one and opening the next academic year.

This checklist supplements Section 7: School Operations – Instruction, Tablet PC Schools: A Checklist of Successes – Part Two.


  1. Accelerated K12 Mobile Learning: Press Release http://www.robertheiny.com/2009/02/accelerated-k12-mobile-learning-press.html
  2. Decisive Schools 2010: Q & A Notes http://www.robertheiny.com/2006/09/decisive-schools-2010-q-notes.html
  3. Frank, M. O. (1986). How to get your point across in 30 seconds – or less. New York, NY: Simon and Shuster.
  4. Tablet PC Schools: A Checklist of Successes – Part Two
  5. http://www.robertheiny.com/2007/01/tablet-pc-schools-checklist-of.html
  6. Vision of Education: Decisive Schools 2010 with Mobile PCs http://www.robertheiny.com/2006/09/vision-of-education-decisive-schools.html


Ms. Pahl (dropped Wilkinson from her name) worked with Dr. W.E. Doynit to plan and open the New Era School Initiative (NESI) charter school for the Normsville Unified School District in California. This school is a Decisive Schools.

She also contributed substantially to the “Yes, but …” report cited in the press release about board authorization to open NESI Charter School.

Posted by The Tablet PC In Education Blog, May 19, 2009, 5:03 AM. (Retrieved May 11, 2010, 5:25 PM.) http://www.robertheiny.com/2009/05/decisive-teachers-2010-2011-ay-prep.html

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