In a single workday at a school, I could have conversations, presentations, or lessons with multiple groups of people:

  • Administrators or Literacy Coaches
  • Small group of Classroom Teachers (in a pre-brief of upcoming mini-lesson)
  • Students (modeling a mini-lesson)
  • Large group of ClassroomTeachers (presentation of a strategy or habitude)
  • And of course, with myself (monitoring and self-awareness)

A wide variety of personalities, mindsets, and skills.

I don't look at my notes once the day begins (except possibly during a break). This leads to questions about how I can "wing it" with such seeming ease. I don't wing it, and though there may be occasional modifications, there is always a plan and purpose on entry. And there is preparation. And practice.

I believe because of the practice, the conversations are able to be … well, more conversational. 

In The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, author Carmine Gallo notes that "…Jobs spends hours of grueling practice before a keynote presentation." Grueling practice = Passionate preparation? 

Those who know how I work have been after me for awhile to share my "index files," either in posts or book form, so here's a glimpse into part of my presentation preparation. 

Here's the cards from my lesson on Gifts From the Writer:


This is a lesson plan I model with students in front of teachers. I've been doing the index card planning forever (I have boxes and boxes of index cards). When I first started teaching, I would have the cards behind the book, on my lap, somewhere close at hand. Though I don't have them so close anymore, I still use this type of preparation.

For larger presentations and keynotes, I often storyboard the presentation … yep … on index cards. I'll share that process in an upcoming post.

I hope this helps you prepare your lesson plans or when speaking before peers. Of course, I'd love to hear how you prepare — either in comments or on your site.