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:)
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!