Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Planning-Where to Begin?

Would you think I'm crazy if I told you that I actually love planning for the school year?  I really do. I'm one of those people who needs to have a plan.  I haven't yet decided if it's a blessing or curse.

When I plan for the school year, I always plan with the end result in mind. I'm horrible at starting small with daily lessons and working my way toward a year's worth of plans. I really don't think I could do it that way.  Not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just not how my mind works. I have to think about where I need my students to be at the end of the year (according to my goals and my state's expectations via our standardized test) and work backwards from there. I like to layout one subject at a time, because it's hard for me to juggle multiple subjects.  I typically start with math, since it's my favorite.

I first print out all of my standards (for the hundredth time) and decide what units I need to teach, and all of the standards and skills in each unit. I usually create a table for each unit I teach, and I write every skill that I will need to teach underneath the unit.

Once I know which skills and standards I plan to teach within each unit, I begin pacing my units. I have an advantage, because I've been teaching third grade for a while now, so I have a good idea of what to expect. For example, thanks to incredible second grade teachers, I know that I will probably only need to spend a week on place value and a week on addition and subtraction. For me, the hardest units to pace are social studies and science, because I have so much to teach in such a short period of time! You can see below how many small units I have to teach!  It's not nearly that bad with my other subjects! 


As I begin pacing my units, I have to keep in mind all of the procedural lessons I teach during the first 9-weeks, and that my students will take their state test during the middle of the fourth 9-weeks. I also have a curriculum map that I have to keep in mind, but I do try to use a good dose of common sense along with the curriculum map, because there are definitely some things that just don't add up!

I also have a visual pacing guide that I shared last summer. I've made several changes to it, so I've created many new things since last summer!

Once I have my units mapped out, it's so much easier for me to actually plan lessons for that unit. I like having a time frame to plan around, because it's is so incredibly easy for me to lose track of time once I'm in the middle of teaching a unit. I could seriously drag some units out for weeks, when in reality there just isn't time. When I write my units, I try to incorporate a variety of instructional practices and techniques to keep learning interesting and fun for my students. I also try to create activities that will lend themselves toward differentiation and to think about how I can formally and informally assess my students.

If I'm feeling overly ambitious, I also try to organize my units into weekly plans. The picture below is just a really rough outline of what my weekly unit overview might look like. Don't judge the handwriting:)

Of course nothing can be set in stone, because who really knows how what's going to happen during the year or how your students will respond to certain concepts and lessons. This is just an outline to make day-to-day planning easier. If I need an extra day on something, I take it, but I do try to stay on pace all year long.  I constantly assess during all of my units to see if I need to add or take away anything, because I don't want to end the unit and my class still not understand the concept.  However, I don't teach in a perfect world, and it does occasionally happen. In those instances, I often try to squeeze in a few extra lessons, especially on essential skills.  Fortunately, it's usually only a small handful of students still struggling with the concept, so I do keep moving forward. However, I'll continue meeting with those students in a small group on that skill.

My daily lesson plans come last, and those are my least favorite to write. I think that's where you really have to look at your students and decide how to make the most out of each of your lessons. That's when I really think about how I plan to differentiate for my students, because it's hard to plan that in advance. I also like to use my informal assessments to help guide my daily plans, because I just never know what surprises my students will have in store for me!

I've created a document with all of the forms I mentioned above, and you can click here for a copy!


45 comments:

Grade 4 Buzz said...

Thank you so much for sharing! These look great!
-Lisa
Grade 4 Buzz

Beth said...

This is a great resource!
Thanks so much.
Beth
Thinking of Teaching

Heather aspecialkindofplace.blogspot.com said...

Thank you for sharing this great resource!

Valerie Bonner said...

Wonderful resources. Do you have a unit in your TPT store on rounding?

Pam said...

I wish my brain worked this way :)! Amazing! I would be interested in hearing a little more about what your informal assessments look like. Are they part of your units? Just wondering...

Mary Bauer said...

You are not crazy. Today is my last day of school and I'm thinking about next year, too.

Monica Parsons said...

This is very useful! Thank you for sharing! I love all of your work! :)

Monica

Shannon said...

Thank you so much for sharing! Are the weekly plans supposed to say "weekly social math", "weekly social writing", "weekly social language arts"? Did I miss something? Haha

1stgradefireworks said...

Thanks! Am using these RIGHT NOW...I need to begin thinking about it! :) While I am sitting outside by the pool! :) Wendy 1stgradefireworks@gmail.com

Kate F said...

What a great way to organize the year and stay on track! Is this available in an editable format?

Becky Thompson said...

Thank you! I'll definitely be using these planning tools! They are just what I need! Thanks for sharing them with us.

Dianne Richardson said...

Are you all team teaching? You are responsible for Science, Social Studies, and Math? Thanks for sharing your thought processes!

Mrs. W said...

Thank you so much for sharing. ...I was already starting to worry about my units for next year and you just made it so much easier! Thanks!!!

Michelle McCraw said...

Thank you for sharing. I have a really hard time organizing and remembering what products I have for what. How do you organize them so that you can find them? I have begun by putting them according to subject then I thought maybe by standard to make them easier to find? Do you have a system that works for you??

Jordan said...

Wow! This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing! What a great way to lay it out and be able to use while planning throughout the year.

Jordan
Team V's Second Grade Fun

Jamie Hoisman said...

Wow!! I wish I taught with you! You are amazingly organized! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your hard work! I am so incredibly inspired by you. (and I'm in awe). I am definitely going to use these! You are a rock star in my book!

Luvinit said...

As usual, you are awesome!! If I ever need an assessment or idea, I think, "Ashleigh!" and you come through every time. Thanks for sharing.

First Grade Stampede said...

Ashleigh,

This post was AWESOME! I'm going into my second year teaching, so I didn't do much pre-planning last summer because I wasn't completely sure how to go about it, the scope & sequence at my school, etc. But, I've started thinking about next year and this seems like such a great way to do it! I definitely am the kind of person who has to start with the big picture in mind.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Bryce
First Grade Stampede

Tracie said...

You are soooo organized!! My 3rd grade co-workers and I (Tunnel Hill Ele.) have started teaching the heat unit during the first 9 weeks so we can make solar ovens from pizza boxes during the last of the warm weather. We do little sausages, s'mores, and tea in big glass jars. The kids love it!!

Thanks for sharing your brain!!

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Krissy - 3rd Grade said...

Ashleigh, I love your pacing guides. Have you updated you ELA one yet? Thanks!

Mrs. K. said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I am a first year teacher and this was very helpful as I get ready for fall.

Marjan Glavac said...

Great ideas. Shared it!
Thanks.
The Busy Educator!

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for sharing!. I am now more excited to start planning with better clarity in the way to begin! Thanks!

Alicia Bushey said...

Thanks for sharing this!

Sheri R said...

Thank you!

2ndGradeRockStars said...

Thank you! I am going to start using this in August. It will definitely make my life easier!

joalderete said...

Thank you for sharing your plans. I like your approach and will use it as I start to plan my year with the new standards (I teach Second Grade). Thanks a bunch!

Marcy said...

Thank you SO much for sharing!! This is EXACTLY what I've needed for years!!!!

Karen F. said...

Does your County/District have a set pacing guide already?? I would love to do this but we have already made pacing guides we must follow....
Karen
tommysmom0206@yahoo.com

Bobbi said...

Great Job. I need to be this organized. I teach 4th grade.

Sandy Capitena said...

This is great....especially for an "umbrella thinker" like me. I too, find the daily plan challenging, because it pins me down to the specifics...and I like the generalities.This is SO organized, I will definitely try it.

Jennifer Reynolds said...

I am spending my summer working on our new Reading/ELA curriculum and trying to integrate the other subjects as much as I can! This planning guide will be SO helpful! Thank you for sharing!

Gratefully,
~Jennifer

Amy Scaling said...

These are great!
I was about to make my own forms for summer planning. You saved me so much time!

Tara said...

These are great! Is it an editable document? Google Docs?

Jenny G. said...

Thanks for sharing these!! I've already gotten started. :)

Second Grade Antics said...

I love following your blog and getting ideas (along with your TPT store). Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

deborah said...

lifesaver! you rock! thank you! <2

Kim Collazo said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and planner, Ashleigh! I am psyched to use it to help me get ready for the coming year!

Mrs. C. said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I shared this post on my FB page!

Kel's Klass said...

Love your organization and ideas! Thanks for sharing! :) Also posting on my FB page! :)

Ms. Hall said...

Thanks so much for sharing your planning ideas. This is exactly what I needed to help me plan for the year....and I've been teaching a loooooong time. I truly appreciate you sharing!!!!! Have a great year!

Nermine Ayman said...

nice

nahid dargahi said...

Happy summer! You have beautiful children!
کرکره برقی - خرید و فروش خودرو - نمایندگی ایران خودرو

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