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Alright, I've shown you a peek into my standards and long-range plans so today is all about the lesson plans. I told you in the introduction that I used to live by the Monday-Friday lesson plan format. I mean LIVED BY IT! I only switched to unit plans while kicking and screaming, but it was one of the BEST things I ever did for myself as a teacher. Sometimes change is a blessing that you have to discover!
WHY UNIT PLANS?
1) You see the big picture.
When planning week to week, it is often hard to see the "big picture" - to see how long it's actually going to take you to reach the end and to know what the end will look like once you get there. With unit plans, I'm able to wrap my head around the entire unit - with the end in sight - and plan the steps in getting us there. It just makes so much more sense!
2) You don't need to REINVENT the wheel every single year!
Oh my gosh. The time these unit plans save me has been a gift. In the past, I would sit down with "last year's plans" and retype (or rewrite) them all into THIS YEAR'S plan format - because you know the dates change, the alignment of subjects change, etc. But, it always felt so ridiculous for me to be copying my plans again. SO redundant! NO MORE! With a unit format, I'm able to just go into the unit to change the dates and tweak any lessons that I want - no need to retype any of them! That's right - my lesson plans are basically done for the year before the year even starts...the "meat" of them anyway!
Here's a glance at the unit plan format I use....nothing "cutesy" about it - straight, to the point, with all of the required details for my district.
Organizing the Unit Plans
This one had me stumped at first. I really DID like opening my planbook and seeing the weekly plans at my fingertips. So, I finally came up with a system that works for the unit plans. I still have them ready at a glance.
I use a 3-ringed binder instead of the traditional planner. This gives me lots of flexibility.
In the front of my binder, I put my planning calendar (coming later), my standards, and my Long Range Plans. These are the necessities that keep me sane and on-track all year long. Behind those, I insert dividers with tabs for each subject area with lesson plans. Some years I go all fancy and type/print my tabs....this one not one of those years. ;)
I'll be back next week to talk about how I differentiate my lesson plans, so if you have any other questions about the lesson plans themselves, leave them below and I'll answer them in next week's post!