Stay on Course with these Long Range Planning Tips and Techniques
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.
“If you don’t know where you are going,
What is Long Range Planning?
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.”
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.
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 store also has eighteen detailed, editable long range plans for grades 2, 3 and 2/3. They can be found in the Long Range Planning section.
Included in these plans are language, math, science, social studies, health, physical education and the arts (drama, dance, music and visual arts).
Each plan contains read-a-aloud and website suggestions for all subjects as well as overall and specific Ontario curriculum expectations. In addition to the provided plan, you receive an editable template that allows you to create your own plan or move the provided specific expectation to the month that you would prefer to teach it in.
While you’re there please check all of my teaching products and other free materials.