Before we dive in to the nitty gritty of social studies and science instruction, I think it’s important to look at the big picture of developing unit plans. Last summer I wrote about how I map out my unit plans for the year, which you can read about here. If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check it out, because there a several documents you can download for your long-term planning.
Above is a picture of my personal social studies and science pacing guide. I will probably tweak it just a bit for the next school year, but you can get the gist of it. After I create this yearly plan, the next step is to break apart each unit into chunks or mini units. I like to look at each mini unit in terms of weeks, but that’s completely optional. It’s just how my mind works. Naturally, I’ll make adjustments once we get into the school year and I have a better understanding of my students and their strengths and weaknesses. This is just a guide/framework/plan that I use to keep me on track and to aid in planning. The picture below is an example of my mini units for social studies.
I would suggest that you use this time to truly unpack each standard to determine what mastery of that standard really means and the perquisite skills for teaching the standards. The version above is an abbreviated version that allows me to get everything on one piece of paper. As you get to know your students you’ll probably add and take away, but it’s still nice to begin the year know where you going and the steps you need to take to get there. I wish there was an all-purpose form or template to share, but there really isn’t any one-size-fits-all planning document. You can download my template here and make changes as needed. I have a PDF version and a PowerPoint version.
I can’t wait to get started on my next post, which will be all about academic vocabulary!