Tips for Curriculum Planning {Mapping, Long Range Plans, Year-Long Planner}

As you start to think about the school year, it is helpful to first think about “the Big Picture,” What is it that you want and need to cover during your overall time with your students? Creating and utilizing curriculum maps (also referred to as pacing guides, long-range plans, year at a glance planning, etc) will allow you to be sure that all concepts and standards for your grade level are covered. It will also help you to better integrate subject areas for a cross-curricular approach to teaching.

In preparation for the year ahead, it would be a good idea to start thinking about what you’ll need to cover and create your own curriculum maps to guide your plans.  This will be especially useful as you come across new ideas, themes, books, and projects. 

I suggest using the following approach:
  • Begin by jotting down all of the major themes and big ideas that you’ll be teaching. Determine if there are seasonal activities that you want to include. For example, I like to do my Pilgrim and Wampanoag Projects in November, Gingerbread in December and my Plant Unit in May.
  • Think about read alouds you want to share with your class. How long will they take? When would be a good time to read them? Do they align with any concepts or themes?
  • After you have established the “Big Ideas” you can start looking at the nitty-gritty: specific standards, lessons and pacing.
  • Consider your district’s requirements. If they have created a pacing guide you’ll want to use it to form your own long-range plans.

I actually like to use Post-It Notes {check out my Post-It Note To Do List Organizer if you are obsessed like me}.
 I then like to create two sets of week-by-week plans. One is short and sweet and makes it easy to see things at a glance. 

The other is a bit more detailed. It is where I jot down ideas for lessons, books to go with the lessons, project ideas etc.

You’ll be happy you took the time to organize your overall plans for the year. The plans will ensure that you allocate sufficient time to cover each standard and objective and will provide a framework for building your teaching units.

I have created an editable Curriculum Map Packet that may be helpful.

The packet comes in four different formats and all are included. There is a colored version (featuring aqua chevron) and an ink-saving black and white version (which looks fantastic when printed onto colored paper). Each of those versions comes bundled as a PDF which preserves the look of the product and can be written on by hand and an editable Powerpoint version.

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide along with my Teaching Procedures and Routines Workbook. This post is part of:
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