Monday, January 19, 2015

How I Plan A Unit

My biggest challenge with starting a new grade level at a new school was not having a plan!  I hate not being prepared well in advance.  Before I left my old school, I had already made all of my copies for the upcoming year so that all I had to do was show up and teach and do a little grading now and then.  I didn't want to waste valuable hours standing in front of a copier when I could be at home snuggling The Little Man.  So, when I accepted this new position I started asking a LOT of questions.  I'm sure I annoyed my teammates, but a girl has got to have a plan.

First, I made a calendar for the school year with all of our days off blacked out.  Then I started plugging in all of my information.  This is what I call a "living document".  I am constantly tweaking it here and there.  (Like when I found out we had guidance one day a week and gifted and talented one day a week, so I could only teach writing three days a week.  Then fast forward to the second semester when I found out guidance was only for the first semester and now I can teach writing four days a week.)  But seriously, it helps my brain.  It makes my brain happy to know what is coming up.  I created a row for each subject that I teach and only plug the subjects into the days that I teach them.  (Science and social studies don't happen on Mondays and Wednesdays because we have computer lab.)  I also included the standard number for math and reading because we only teach one objective a week.  (Oklahoma doesn't do Common Core.)


Here is a close up:


I then plan out my unit.  I count up how many days I am going to teach a unit and start numbering a sheet of paper.  I start at the bottom and work my way up.  I want to focus on my end result and then break it down into each step.  It looks something like this:


For the record, I only typed it for this blog post.  Normally, I grab a piece of paper out of my printer, fold it in half, and start scribbling.


2 comments:

  1. You have inspired me to go back to this basic planning. After teaching for many years I got good at global planning in my head and sketchy details on my lesson plans. I've changed grades and even though it's a grade I've taught and I can still do much "off the the cuff", I find I waste a lot of time during the day. Also I feel I'm always running off copies. Thanks for reminding me that lesson plans are as much time management as knowing what to teach.
    Pauline

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  2. Thank you for your comment. Sometimes I feel like I am talking to myself when I write this blog, like no one actually reads it. I don't think anyone has ever said that I inspired them to do anything. I am sure it was just a choice of words on your part, but it means a lot and I appreciate it. Have a great week!

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