Monday, June 13, 2011

Lesson Plans and Measuring Progress

I like efficiency.

After classes with my dog, I write notes about what we did and how it went. I have a long list of behaviors/specifics to work on and we usually add about 10-15 things to the list after every class.   Some days it's a lot, lot more.   I put a shortened post on here...the notes to myself are typically longer and much more detailed.

It's not too different after I teach a class.  I go home and that night or the next morning, I write up what we did, what things really stand out for needing work next time, and anything else relevant.   Then the day before a class, I pull up what happened the last 2-3 weeks and I make my lesson plan off of the "need to work on" list and what I get inspired by that week.   These notes get scrawled on a little paper I frantically look over from the time I arrive at the building to when the lesson starts.     After class.... to make written notes.   I don't often type up lessons before group classes  because all of my manners classes are set up to work on the things most important to the family...I try to leave one slot each week for the owners specific goals/things that came up during the week.  

Sometimes I make even more notes.   For several months I was recording what progress on behaviors we made over the course of the classes....     I wanted to see if my students were progressing as much as I thought and to look at what factors determined success (....high value reinforcers...more so than practicing, handler skill, dog breed/age/etc).

It can get time consuming....  sometimes I fall out of it for a few weeks. But I always notice my students stop progressing as fast and that I'm not meeting their needs as well as I could be.       I should find ways to condense things more.   But for the's the system!

Today is completely dedicated to lesson plans. I've been working on my class things, a plan for two 3-hour CPE games lessons tomorrow, camp later this week, and some things for camp next week....  eep.    But we're taking breaks to do some frantic cleaning and training.  Now I'm into a nice pattern of being able to work four dogs, two sessions each, in about 30 minutes.  

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