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Step 2: Brainstorm planning ideas

Before you attempt this step, you must have looked closely at the topics listed in your Broad learning goals chart (step 1) and considered this: have you addressed all the content expectations or content strands assigned to your grade level or course?

Once you affirm that your learning goals are complete, you are ready for brainstorm planning ideas that help you and your students work with the content in meaningful ways. As you review your Broad Learning Goals Chart, jot down some ideas in response to the questions below.

Brainstorm planning ideas [3rd-grade example]

Questions to consider

How can I group the content in ways that make sense?

  • To make connections across content areas
  • To create meaningful chunks within content areas
  • To scaffold or support students in constructing knowledge and understanding concepts within a content area
  • To take into account the calendar year, planned field trips and special events at my school
What are some possible ways to organize most of the instruction for the grading period around one or two units that focus on a theme, central question or Big Idea?  
In what parts of my plan can I allow enough time for especially difficult concepts by grouping them with easier concepts or by allowing extra time?  
How can my organization of the expectations/content strands build review into my teaching?  
What else do I need to keep in mind as I move forward with my planning?


See What makes a good social studies unit topic?

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