Do you realize the importance of planning for teachers? Are you the type of teacher that does yearly planning? Well…at one point I was not either. However, once I started incorporating YEARLY planning into my upper elementary classroom, it was a game changer! Let’s talk about the importance of yearly planning for teachers.
1. Yearly planning will help you easily teach all of the standards.
2. It will SAVE you time and energy. (All teachers need help with this!)
3. I love that it also helps keep you accountable for what you are EXPECTED to teach.
WHAT IS A YEARLONG PLAN?
What exactly is a yearlong or yearly teaching plan, you may be wondering? It is simply an overview of what you will be teaching all year. Typically, teachers divide their yearly plan into quarters, grading periods or semesters.
WHY DO I NEED A YEARLONG PLAN?
Why you need a yearlong plan is simple- it will make sure that you are teaching what you are supposed to be!
In addition, a yearly plan helps to:
provide a road map for your year
pace your content
organize what you’re teaching and when
plan test prep (if your grade level does this)
HOW IS A YEARLONG PLAN DIFFERENT FROM UNITS OR LESSON PLANS?
The importance of planning the year for teachers is that your yearlong plan is like your ROADMAP. It gives you an overview of the school year. You can then use this plan to create your units.
A great example of this would be at open house when you want to let parents know what skills or areas will be worked on throughout the school year. You can simply give them a copy of the yearlong schedule.
8 TIPS FOR YEARLY PLANNING
1. Start with the big picture
To start making my yearlong plan, I typically use the plan outline that my district provides. This is my roadmap for the year of what I need to get through. I like to have this written out all on one sheet of paper in calendar form. I also give this to parents during back to school time, letting them know that it is subject to change.
2. Break down the standards into chunks
Now comes a little more fun. You get to expand on the big picture above. This step is where you figure out exactly HOW you want to teach each standard and make sure you are hitting all of the parts of it.
For example, if you know you need to teach Measurement & Data for 6 weeks, how exactly will you break it down?
You may plan out something similar to this, giving each topic one week:
Mr. Gallon Man
Area & Perimeter
Degrees in a circle
3. Think about themes for the year
Next, think about any fun themes that you may want to incorporate throughout the school year. Did you know students are more engaged and confident when they enjoy the activity? Think about different holidays, back to school, end of school year, special units etc. For example, in my 4th Grade Math Transformation Bundle, I have tons of different themes that I incorporate throughout the school year such as:
Classroom hospital transformation
March Madness Basketball
St. Patrick’s Day Escape Room
4. Grab some fun ideas (Hello Pinterest!)
I don’t know about you but I LOVE using Pinterest to help me plan! I always create a new board for each subject topic and gather all ideas on each board for that area. This makes it super easy to go back and find the ideas. This also makes it easy to just look at the board and grab a few big ideas for projects or activities throughout the year.
5. Use resources already available to you
When I first began doing yearlong planning during my first few years of teaching, I bought a ton of resources online to help myself get by. Then, once I understood more clearly what I was supposed to teach each year, I started creating my own resources that fit my yearly plans. It is so helpful having these 4th Grade Anchor Charts and Notes Bundle or 6th Grade Anchor Charts and Notes Bundle each year.
6. Fill in the weeks
Now, take all of the ideas from above and break down each week of planning. What activities will you teach and in what order for each standard? This is the part where you get really detailed and plan out the parts of the week and the order you will teach in.
7. Build in formative assessments
Then, decide which assessments you will use and where during each lesson. I have formative assessments already pre-made for you in the 4th Grade Common Core Math Assessments Bundle if you need them.
8. Review the yearly plan and finalize it!
Finally, this is where you look back and assess! This is possibly the most important step. What worked? What didn’t? What changes should you make for next year for your students?
I do yearly planning for Science as well!