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Section III: Unit planning focuses on important ideas and is responsive to all learners

Sitting down to plan a unit can be a very different experience from planning a lesson. Looking across multiple objectives allows you to focus on Big Ideas, central questions and/or themes that add interest and meaning to the subject matter being studied. Taking the time to review the resources available at your school or on the Internet may allow you to develop creative teaching ideas that are more difficult to come up with during daily planning. Sketching out the important activities, the needed materials and the major assessments for six to nine weeks of teaching can also help to make daily planning go faster.

Today's classrooms reflect the diversity in our society. We have variation in race, class, culture, language use, ability, interests, teaching styles and learning styles. How teachers respond to and plan for that diversity can make a difference in whether students in their classrooms move from "getting by " to thriving as active participants in learning communities. However, planning units for all types of learners is not a simple matter and educators have tried many approaches.

The following provide ways to explore and organize the content and skills you will teach:

Identifying Big Ideas, central questions and themes

Exploring a unit's content expectations

Unit planning for one content area

Unit planning across content areas

These tools and resources are designed to help you examine and extend your unit plans to respond to the diversity in your classroom:

Unit planning that responds to cultural and linguistic diversity

Unit planning that responds to multiple intelligences and learning styles

Unit planning that incorporates differentiated instruction

If the teachers in your school aren’t already in the habit of planning units together, you may want to sit down with another teacher who teaches the same grade level or course to sketch out a unit together. Or you may want to work with your mentor to hear another person's perspective on how teaching goals, resources and activities can be pulled together to create substantive learning experiences. Also, to get ideas about how to make your instruction responsive to all learners.