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Planning, Planning, Planning

Here it is the end of the school year, and everyone is already talking about planning! Planning? Now? What about that great summer vacation that teachers get? Don't they just sit home watching Oprah all day long? Well, Oprah is gone, so we might as well plan!

And actually, for those who may read this blog that are not teachers or are new to our profession, let me preach just a bit about that teacher summer break... it doesn't exist. Summer is simply the time we have to plan, plan, and plan some more. That whole planning period is a falacy, and we must use our summers to prepare for the little ones that will walk into our classrooms in just a blink of the eye.

Summer is the chance we have to work without interruption. It's the opportunity we have to sit in a comfortable chair, research and relate our standards and objectives, and create. Now, some may not be as creative or imaginative as others, so there are options for them, too (TeachersPayTeachers), but most of us will begin the process of gathering and preparing materials for our upcoming school year.

This can be an overwhelming task. You look at the new standards and see a glob of words on the pages that seems impossible to control and contain into tangible lesson plans. But, it's not that hard. Don't let it overwhelm you!

Start with a plan for the plan!
1. Create a curriculum map for the school year. This can be a simple outline of topics with dates, or it could include your standards, objectives, and core content. I always count the days in the school year, determine the number or days each topic or unit will demand, and work my way through the scheduling process.
2. Develop unit plans that outline your unit objectives, essential questions, and daily plans. This is your working plan that can guide you through the unit and through the content. If they are planned out well, with appropriate timing, your unit tests will follow for assessment.
3. Evaluate your needs for each unit. Determine what materials or resources will be needed for the unit. Gather the items and organize the materials for daily use. Research your content to develop any needed curriculum guides or to develop the instructional materials. Prepare powerpoints or prezis for direct instruction and develop creative activities to engage your students. Or shop on TpT!
4. Before each unit begins, prepare all of your materials, make your copies, and organize your resources and handouts into daily sets.

Take a look at the FREE templates for the curriculum map and unit lesson plan template at my TpT store. And then, just do it! Before you know it, your units will be planned and your students will be entering the door of your well planned and well organized classroom! It will make all of the difference in your teaching year.

Oh, and be sure to hit the pool a few times before the "summer break" is over! Without some structured rest to go with your well-developed plans, you may not enjoy your new classes as much as deserved!