10 Steps to Unit Planning

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July 20, 2017

School officially starts in less that one month. Normally I would think that one month is a lot of time but considering school let out almost 2 months ago and it feels like summer has been a flash, I have a feeling this next month will go even faster.

Naturally, here I am sitting at my computer thinking about science and lesson planning. Here is my plan for Unit planning.

  1. Read the TEKS again. If you live in Texas, you know what I am talking about. If you live elsewhere, TEKS are our state standards detailing our curriculum requirements. I like to think of them as our road map.
  2. Check out the unit topics based upon the standards. At this point I know that my school district uses an online resource called TEKS Resource System, which details each unit’s topic, misconceptions, overarching understanding and questions. I also have spent just enough time in my classroom to pick up a copy of the textbook, Science Fusion.
  3. Check out Edutopia. I found a great blog and resource on unit planning, you should check it out here if you are interested or keep reading for the bare bones.
  4. Grab something to write on. I am using a dedicated spiral notebook. I love technology but it’s not ideal in the middle of the night or when I have a lot of tabs open.
  5. Write down the big ideas for the unit. Write down:
    1. TEKS (or standards) related to the unit and how they connect
    2. Unit objectives
    3. Unit vocabulary
    4. Essential questions
  6. Figure out your timeframe. Do you have a couple of days, 10 days, a few weeks?
  7. Once you have your big ideas and you know your timeframe, start thinking about your delivery. Here are 2 of the resources I like to use that are not a print and go but really get students to experience learning:
    1. Lead4Ward
    2. Marcia Tate’s Science Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites
  8. Develop a plan for differentiation for your learners.
  9. Decide on your formative and summative assessment/s.
  10. Plan to reflect after you execute your plans. Whether it is daily, weekly or unit-ly will really just depend on you, the time you have and how you self reflect. But I will say from other experiences that reflection makes a huge impact.

The Scientific Method behind this blog

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July 8, 2017

Purpose (state the problem): I was looking for a blog about teaching 5th grade Science that contained posts about actually teaching content but I couldn’t find one. I’m not saying one doesn’t exist, I’m just saying that I looked for days maybe even weeks and couldn’t find what I was looking for.

Research (find out about the topic):

  • Well for starters I am a teacher, I just haven’t taught 5th grade Science (allow me a little grace).
  • There are lots of great resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I’m not looking at buying worksheets. (Although I know that I will be purchasing some of these resources throughout the year.)
  • Blogging, well I have been writing for as long as I can remember and I kept up with a blog for a couple of college courses. But we won’t discuss how long ago that took place.
  • I have found plenty of great resources telling me how to arrange desks, organize classroom supplies, label my classroom library and the latest ideas on how to use supplies from Dollar Tree.

Hypothesis (predict the outcome of the problem): I’m going to keep this blog to document the teaching and learning that occurs in my classroom.  

It’s not always going to be pretty but it will be honest. My idea is to tackle the school year one unit at a time with the world joining my students for the year. I want to talk about real teaching. That means saying how I’m going to address vocabulary, what I’m using to engage my students and what I’m doing to make it stick. When I do all of that I am also going to have to admit what worked, what didn’t, how I can make changes to improve my teaching.

Analysis (Record the results of the experiment): This is the whole point of thescienceexperiment.com, to record the experiment of teaching 5th Grade Science.

Conclusion (compare the hypothesis to the experiments conclusion): We’ll just have to wait to see what happens…….