Teacher Prep: Making a Unit Plan

7:00 AM

Hi Y'all,

Since I'm finishing up school to be a teacher, I figured I would share some of my insights on what I've learned from my program thus far (after all, teachers learn from each other).

I do realize the school year just ended (or is ending for some districts). However, some teachers have to switch grade levels and have to start coming up with lessons and units for their new grade. New teachers also have to do this.

For one of my classes (Elementary Education Methods), I had to learn Backwards Design lesson planning and create a lesson plan. Now, I'd made lesson plans specific to language arts and reading groups before; but I had never done the Backwards Design model before.

For my class we turned in two lesson plans before working on our actual unit plan. Our unit had several requirements (like you had to have a technology lesson, cooperative lesson, and a lesson you found on the internet). Quite frankly, I found most of them on the internet, but I wasn't afraid to switch some things up.

I have the good fortunate to be getting my licensure in the state of Virginia, which means that I have the Standards of Learning (or SOLs) to follow.  Most (if not all) states have something similar.

Since I already knew I had a guideline, I picked out first grade citizenship as my focus for my unit. Citizenship is super important, especially for the younger grades as they're learning about society (gives them background knowledge they might now have) and it also teaches them about being nice to each other.

I took each standard, and put it into Google Sheets (I don't have Microsoft on my computer). I then had a column for each lesson (I had to have 10 lessons). Each time I completed an SOL, I put a check for the lesson plan.
(c) withsoutherngrace

This way, I knew exactly what I needed to accomplish in my lessons. I also thought about how I wanted to assess my students. Something I've noticed is there is way to many papers. I'm glad that students have stuff to take home to their families, but come on, no one needs that many papers. 

Therefore, I thought about ways I could ask questions to the students and do check lists instead. That way, I could write out the responses and be able to watch what they were doing instead of having 15 plus worksheets to grade throughout the unit. 

In Wiggins and McTighe's model of Backwards Design, after you figure out how you're going to assess, you have to figure out what the Big Idea/Understandings and Questions are (these are also known as Essential Understandings and Questions). Luckily, in the state of Virginia, it's essentially the SOLs, just reworded. This allows the students to have something to discuss. 

I then wrote out the lesson plan using the WhereTo format. I also typed out what materials were needed (worksheets, technology, pencils, markets, erasers, etc.). This way, when I pull up the lesson I know exactly what I need and can have it ready to go!

For some of the activities, I found them online (I found ideas on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers). However, some of them I had to tweak to the Virginia SOL specifications. I've even been thinking about putting them on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

How do y'all lesson/unit plan? How do you find your activities? Do you use Teachers Pay Teachers?

with southern grace,

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with southern grace,