Writing long-range plans sometimes also called a scope and sequence is an important method for digging deeper into the curriculum (standards), and to ensure you cover all the required material before the end of the year.
Here is my process for creating long-range plans for the subjects I teach:
- Print off a paper copy or use a digital monthly calendar for your school year.
- Write in any dates that you currently know about such as field trips, holidays, testing, and special events.
- Print off or use a digital copy of the required curriculum for each subject and grade level (TEKS, Common Core, Provincial Curriculum) you must teach. I prefer a printed copy so I can annotate in the margins, however, there are great Google tools to help you annotate PDFs.
- Close read the curriculum expectations/standards once without annotations. Then read over the curriculum again and make notes in the margins. Use sticky notes to write longer more detailed notes. As I am reading through the curriculum, I make notes on possible lessons, units, resources, books or thoughts I have. These will help me create my long-range plans.
- Use highlighters to colour code expectations that fit together i.e. expectations/standards that relate to spelling and grammar or non-fiction reading/writing.
- Focus on making connections between the big ideas in the curriculum – what must your students know to be ready for the next year?
- Start your long-range plans with community-building activities that relate to your curriculum areas. Also, schedule any diagnostic assessments you are required to give at the beginning of the year. I have to give a mandatory reading test during the first few weeks of the school year. When I taught Math, I would give students a brief diagnostic to see what math skills they had remembered and forgotten over the summer.
- Using the calendar (write in pencil), start to map out when you will cover each expectation or set of expectations, and how long you will spend teaching each topic.
- Remember to leave some buffer room around holiday times. At my school, many students are absent the day before any major holiday break (Christmas, March/Spring Break). Those are not good days to start or end any major unit of study because you will be missing many students.
- Once you have finished writing your long-range plans, look them over and show the plans to a colleague. Ask for feedback to see if you have forgotten to include something.
- Need some inspiration? See how I structure my long-range plans with this free resource click here.
- Now, it is time to focus on writing unit plans that support your curriculum and follow the sequence of your long-range plans. For unit planning ideas check here.
Although writing long-range plans may seem like a daunting task, it is a valuable experience.