Thursday, 1 September 2016

Long Range Planning

"If you don't know where you are going, 
you might wind up someplace else."

Yogi Berra

I have found long range planning to be an indispensable tool in meeting the demands of teaching today.   While winding up someplace else might be fun on a summer road trip, it’s not the place you want to be during the fast paced school year.

What is it?

A long range plan is a high level, comprehensive, progressive monthly based plan for each subject that will ensure that all expectations are covered by the end of the school year.   
High level refers to including the overall expectations for each subject matter and names of unit plans but not daily lessons. 

By progressive, I mean ensuring that students have the requisite knowledge to meet an expectation.  For example, number recognition has to be taught prior to teaching addition and subtraction.   It also applies to cross curricular links whereby if students need a particular skill such as jot notes for a social studies unit, you will need to plan to do the social studies unit at the same time or soon after teaching jot notes. 

Comprehensive refers to including all elements for each subject e.g. language including reading strategies, writing forms, grammar, spelling, printing/cursive writing as well as the number of weeks each unit will take.

"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

Dwight D. Eisenhower 

In teaching, plans are important, however, we can’t lose sight of the need to be flexible and make adjustments to the plan as required.   For example, it’s easy to spend extra time on a specific subject such as when the students are having difficulties.  This is where adjustments to the plan will need to be made such as removing other aspects of your unit to keep you on schedule.   A clearly laid out plan enables you to more easily decide where the adjustments can be made and to what degree.

Why do it?

Yes, the first time you develop a long range plan requires a considerable amount of thought and work.  However, once it’s done, it can be used every year with only some fine tuning.   
  • It saves you having to regularly refer back to overall expectations over the course of the year.
  • It keeps you focused and on track to complete all subjects on time for report cards.  
  • It assists in reporting to parents who are interested in knowing what’s going to be covered over the course of the year.  Similarly, if a student is going to be absent, since you know in advance what you will be teaching at that time, you can get material ready for the student if you chose or at least better inform the parent of what will be missed.
  • If for some reason the teacher is absent for a long period time, a substitute teacher will know exactly what has been covered and what still needs to be taught. 

What’s Next?

When my long range plan is drafted, I develop my units for each subject to meet the required specific expectations.   Units consist of daily lessons and assessments.  A first year teacher or a teacher teaching a new grade for the first time would likely do this on a monthly basis since they don’t have a full inventory of units previously prepared.  

Now that you know the number of days to complete a unit, you can develop a monthly calendar for all subjects.  Once your monthly calendar is developed, you can write your detailed day plans for each week.   Here is a sample of what your monthly planner should look like.

You can get my free editable monthly calendar and day plans at my TpT store.

My TpT store has detailed long range plans for grades 2, 3 and 2/3.  Included in these plans are language, math, science, and social studies.

While you’re there please check all of my teaching products and other free materials.  

Stay tuned for my next blog.

Happy teaching.

No comments:

Post a Comment