Planning to “Chunk”

During October our building focus has been on “Content Planning.” I wanted to share a simple document that may help us deliberately plan for “chunking” to occur in our lessons. Chunking just refers to dividing the content of a lesson into smaller pieces rather than presenting all the content to the students at once.

The following template could be used to break your content down into smaller pieces in order to help meet the needs of all your students.


In regards to your Pirate Planning Guide Template, this tool would be used to plan for DQ 2 or “Interacting with New Knowledge.” The template essentially asks you to divide your lesson into smaller content pieces and decide which activities you will use for each content piece.


CHAMPS Expectations

I know many of you are out there experimenting with cooperative learning structures which is great! I wanted to share something that I think will help you as you plan for cooperative learning activities – or really any activities at all.

This is a method developed by Dr. Randy Sprick (Discipline in the Secondary Classroom). CHAMPS helps us think about how we want our students to talk, move, ask for help, and participate in various activities. This will help you be explicit with your expectations for the benefit of you and your students.


Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or want samples.

Cushion Time

Cushion Time Ideas:
Cushion Time refers to the time that occurs when some or all students complete an assigned task. Failure to plan for cushion time results in a lot of time wasted in class. Cushion time is also a great way to differentiate for your more advanced learners by providing opportunities to demonstrate content mastery at a more challenging or creative level.

1. Puzzles/Games
2. Brainteasers
3. Challenge Problems (for individuals or groups)
4. Creative Writing
5. Journal Writing
6. Brainstorm Lists of…
7. Top Ten reasons…
8. Draw of picture to represent content learned
9. Write song/poem dealing with content
10. Use Question Dice to create thinking questions.
11. Create Flash Cards
12. Quiz a partner with Flash Cards
13. Online research
14. Silent Reading
15. Math Games
16. Listening Center
17. Write Review Questions
18. Create your own:

* In order for cushion time to really be effective in managing your class time efficiently; Cushion time must…
1. Be an expectation that is reinforced rather than an option. Given the choice most students would rather sleep or play on their phones.
2. Include activities that are fun, challenging, and rewarding (consider offering structured choices).
3. Be reinforced with a combination of intrinsic/extrinsic awards. (For example, students that complete the challenge question will have the opportunity to get to “scale level 4” on their progress charts)

Cushion Time Ideas