Curriculum Mapping. It only takes a year or two…
Does your school district provide you with a curriculum map? When I worked in a public school, we had a pacing and planning guide for every subject that laid out exactly what to teach and when. Many of our subjects were even scripted! I am not a huge fan of scripted lessons because it takes all the creativity and fun out of teaching (hmm… sounds like how I felt with many assignments as a student!).
At my new school, I have been given standards and textbooks, but no map of when to teach what. I flailed a little last year as I tried to lay out what I could, but I was constantly getting frustrated that I was not keeping up the pace I had set for myself. So this year I took a large piece of copy paper (11″x 14″) and drew a million lines! I filled each subject in vertically and across the top, broke the year into weeks. Then I penciled in what I needed to be doing each week in every subject. I drew dark lines to represent a mid term or trimester, and at the bottom added what school events would be happening at this time. I am a HUGE believer in cross- curricular teaching. You will easily walk in during Math and see us writing, or doing algorithms during literacy! The curriculum map lets me see where I can combine themes or subjects. We do not use every textbook from chapter one to chapter twenty one. We skip around according to what we are working on in every subject!
Here is a view of my overall map while I was still working on it:
Up close you can see a few more specifics:
Yes I realize I could make this look nice and tidy on Excel, but I am a paper and pencil girl. Plus this is only my second year teaching this grade and nothing is set in stone (or in type in this case). Perhaps after this year I will enter it all nice and neat, but for now, this snapshot of my year makes me feel accomplished and prepared. Just like any map, it gives my direction of where to travel.
Do you plan your year on your own? How much flexibility do you have in your teaching?