As teachers we know that we need to have unit plans. This is a standard expectation of teachers, in many circumstances we are also expected to have lesson plans as well. We often hear adages as justification of the need for planners like
“Failure to plan is planning to fail”
“Proper planning prevents poor performance”
While these are very applicable and true, I think there are five underlying reasons for structured unit planning. These are the five C’s – Consistency, Continuity, Coverage, Considered & Creativity
- Consistency – Consistency allows us to have consistent delivery of the curriculum between classes and across the course. We know that what is covered in one class is covered in the others, thus the preparations for assessment is fair and equitable. Consistency does not mean that each class is delivered in the same manner, rather that the core content is covered.
- Continuity – Continuity is planning for the unthinkable. Should a member of staff be unable to teach, their is suitable structure in place to allow the replacement teacher to quickly and easily pick up the thread of teaching and learning and provide continuity of education to our students.
- Coverage – Coverage is ensuring that all aspects of the syllabus or curriculum are addressed, that they are covered in sufficient depth and rigor to meet the requirements for assessment. It allows us to apply curriculum mapping to examine the syllabus as a whole and to make the links between the different disciplines, building the cross curricula links that are synergistic to learning. Cross curricula learning is the core element of Daggett’s application Model (see Activity mapping – http://edorigami.edublogs.org/2010/02/13/activity-mapping/)
- Creativity – Unit planning allows you to look at the bigger picture. Once you have laid out the wealth of content, concepts, attitudes and processes you need to share with your students, you can start to consider the different approaches, methods and strategies you can use to engage and motivate the students. You can link the higher order thinking skills (See Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy – http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy), Sensory learning (See ICT & Learning styles – http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/ICT+and+LEARNING+STYLES) Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences ( See ICT & Multiple intelligences – http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Gardners+Multiple+Intelligences+and+ICT) and consider how you can integrate traditional and digital approaches to teaching and learning – (See Traditional practice and Digital Approaches – http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Traditional+and+Digital+Practice)
- Considered – Structure and planning allows all of these and it faciltiates reflection. We can look back and consider what we did and how we can improve. It allows our teaching to be deliberate. This does not mean we can not seize the teachable moment, I would never ever want to see regimented teaching.