Introduction to Unit Plan Template:

Unit Plan Template - Process Street

This Process Street Unit Plan Template has been designed to guide an education practitioner through the necessary stages of planning for an upcoming unit. 

This template should be run at the beginning moment of formulating a new unit up to the point of submitting your unit plan for review by senior management.

By using this Process Street checklist, all planning data and documentation is saved for review and improvement. This template is geared to ensure teaching methods can consistently hit their highest standards through the following of industry accepted best practices. 

This process functions by an 8 phase structure of planning a lesson from the chapter Lesson Plans and Unit Plans: The Basis for Instruction in the book New Teacher's Companion by Gini Cunningham, which you can find on the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's website.

Some of the chapter's notes are quoted throughout this checklist for further guidance and advice.

The checklist is flexible to allow for your needs and requirements to guide the process. 

As with all Process Street checklists, this template is fully editable and you can add or remove steps in the process as you wish.

The template in Process Street acts as structure from which you can run checklists; instances of each template. This means that changes to the standardized template will result in changes for future runs of the checklist.  

All data entered into each checklist is stored in a table format in the Template Overview tab. This shows each checklist which has been run along with the metadata for each checklist plus all information which has been entered into the form fields.

You can assign whole checklists to one person or assign different aspects of each checklist to different people. You can do the latter with our Task Assignment feature. This helps you manage workflows and involve multiple people in complex processes or use cases where approval may be required. 

To assist further in facilitating approvals, we also have Stop Tasks which stop the process user from continuing until a particular task has been completed. This helps in promoting process adherence and improving accountability

You can also make use of Process Street's inbuilt automation features like conditional logicvariables, and checklist run links. Or connect Process Street with the third party automation tool Zapier. 

Record checklist details

Use the form fields provided to enter relevant information about the task or checklist.

Determine unit purpose

In order to begin formulating the scope of the unit, determine the purpose it should serve. 

Think big about why this unit is being taught and let this inform your teaching approaches. 

Understand main topics and sub topics

The unit can be split down into a variety of segments. 

The importance of these segments can be prioritized and analyzed in order to understand the relationship they have with one another. 

Use the form fields below to outline what you see as being the primary main topics and subtopics.

Establish key concepts

In order to effectively communicate the information and learning goals it will be important to clearly understand the key concepts relating to the field of study and the particular information being conveyed. 

Concepts should be able to unite lessons across a unit, acting as demonstrations of the overall theme. 

Use the form fields below to list the key concepts the students will need to understand to be able to progress within this unit.

Document essential skills to be developed

While undertaking this unit, the students will be required to develop certain essential skills which they will be able to translate into other areas of study and which will help facilitate further learning. 

Use the form field below to list the essential skills the students will learn to cultivate throughout this unit. 

Determine academic goals

Depending on what stage in education you are teaching, the academic goals will vary wildly. 

Academic goals should also be seen from both a group and individual perspective. The academic goals of the unit should bear some relationship with the individual academic goals you set for your students. The two should help facilitate each other. 

Use the form field below to record notes on how you will approach setting academic goals, and what those goals will be. 

Dorit Sasson, writing for Teaching Community, outlines important considerations when preparing academic goals for students:

Express goals positively: “To improve my spelling” is a much better goal than “Don’t spell with so many mistakes.”

Be accurate: If students set an accurate goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that achievement can be measured and can be satisfied at achieving it.

Set Priorities: When students have several goals, give each a priority. This helps them avoid feeling overwhelmed and helps their attention to the more important ones.

Write goals down to make them more meaningful.

Keep Goals Small: Urge students to keep their immediate goals small and achievable.

Set Goals Students Have Control Over: There is nothing worse than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond the students’ control.

Set specific measurable goals: If students consistently fail to meet a measurable goal, then they can adjust it or analyze the reason for failure and take appropriate action.

Note down methods to make the learning relevant

Making lessons enjoyable is always a big challenge for any teacher. 

What works one day may not always work the next. This is why we put time in advance to consider how we will make lessons interesting and fun, and why we're on a constant search to find new ways to inspire and engage our students. 

Along with techniques to make lessons fun comes showing students why something is important or why they should be interested in it. Making something relevant keeps a student engaged and provides them with an increased self-drive for learning. 

Combining these two approaches allows us to keep students engaged and improve their learning experience.

Use the form fields below to record different methods you can employ to keep the lessons enjoyable and ways by which you can relate information to students to create greater relevancy.  

Janelle Cox, writing for ThoughtCo, outlines 10 ways to keep your class interesting:

  1. Incorporate Some Mystery Into Your Lessons
  2. Do Not Repeat Classroom Material
  3. Create Classroom Games
  4. Give Students Choices
  5. Utilize Technology
  6. Don't Take Teaching so Seriously
  7. Make Lessons Interactive
  8. Relate Material to Students' Lives
  9. Flip Your Lessons
  10. Think Outside of the Box

Assess past studies to find connections to previous learning

Understanding what the students have learned - or what they will be learning alongside your unit - will help you understand how prepared for your unit they will be. 

Have you covered any of this material before? Have they studied it in another class from a different perspective?

These considerations can help you understand how students might react to your materials and can inform your pacing. 

Use the form field below to identify any connections you can find which may be worth considering as you plan.

In her book, Cunningham outlines a unit she taught which turned out to have a high relation to a history unit the students were also doing at the time. 

She writes:

"When I was teaching 8th grade English, we read Night, the autobiography of Elie Wiesel. The book details the author's survival in a concentration camp during the Nazi terror of World War II. I taught this unit for 11 years, and each repetition and reading made the book more powerful to me as lessons were enriched through student feedback. I scheduled the unit during the time that my students were studying World War II in history class, creating a learning liaison between the two subjects.

Each year my students talked more and more about the unit, comparing facts and information from their history teacher and textbook to what we were learning from the autobiography and our discussions. The effect of this unit expanded greatly when the history teacher, Herk Criswell, and I began more detailed planning of our units together. The students did not just double their knowledge between our two classes, lectures, notes, and discussions. I would say they tripled or quadrupled their knowledge. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm they gained for learning through our collaboration.

A bonus was how students compared the historical information each teacher shared. As we would read and discuss, some would say, "Yeah, that is exactly what Mr. Criswell said in history." On other occasions, students would double-check our facts: "Mr. Criswell told us … But you said …" This interchange led to interesting dialogue about perceptions of what students had heard in one class or the other and how history is interpreted by readers, writers, textbook companies, teachers, and students. It also allowed students to compare the style and tone of two literary genres: autobiography and textbook.

Sometimes my students would comment, "Hey, did you know we are learning about this in history?" and I would nod, to which they would respond, "Why don't more teachers do that? It really makes things make sense when you hear about them more than once." Although the unit was always complicated and demanding to teach, the student learning and thinking were extraordinary and empowered both teachers and students."

Estimate students' current knowledge

It's very hard to guess what students may or may not know before a class begins.

However, from investigating what they have studied before, you might be able to make an approximation. If you have taught a similar unit before then you may have a clearer idea of what to expect in regards to foundational knowledge. 

Use the form field to describe the level you think students in your class may be at.

Review what students should learn each lesson

In this section, you can begin to break down your planning into chunks with a set purpose for each lesson. 

Be sure not to pack too much into lessons, but also avoid being too sparse. Managing time and tackling large amounts of important information is difficult, but with careful planning you can achieve it.  

Use the form field provided for your notes.

Understand how to make sure all students succeed

Making sure all students succeed is a difficult but rewarding process and a crucial part of being an effective educator. 

One strategy is to develop a strong classroom management plan. This will help you prioritize your time in the classroom to meet the attention and learning needs of different students. 

Use the form fields below to either upload or link to your classroom management plan, and to make notes on other methods to consider. 

Melissa Kelly, writing for ThoughtCo, outlines 8 things teachers can do to help students succeed:

  1. Set High Expectations
  2. Establish a Classroom Routine
  3. Practice the 'Daily Fives'
  4. Continually Grow in Your Profession
  5. Help Students Climb Bloom's Taxonomy Pyramid
  6. Vary Your Instruction
  7. Show That You Care About Every Student
  8. Be Transparent and Ready to Help

Determine assessment approaches that fit academic outcomes?

How students are assessed can often make an impact on their attainment. 

Some students are better at some forms of assessment than others. For this reason, we may want to employ varied assessment techniques and strategies in order to better understand the progress different students are making. 

It is also useful to undergo regular testing, even if that testing is informal, to understand the progression students are making. 

Cunningham outlines 4 key forms of assessment she believes you should always be utilizing:

  • Pre-assessments
  • Mini-assessments
  • Post-assessments
  • Monitoring and adjusting throughout the unit

Use the form field provided to outline your approach to assessments within the unit.

Gather extra materials and resources

Having a large library of materials and resources at your disposal can give you more to work with as you come to plan each individual lesson. 

Use the form fields below to either upload or link to your collected resources.

Assess overview of unit to determine suitability and viability

Now you have your unit plan together, take the time to review it. 

Much like proofreading any piece of writing, walking away from your unit plan and coming back to it with a fresh head ready to pick it apart and assess it objectively will improve the final product. 

Leave any notes in the form field provided.

Submit your unit plan to senior management for review

Now everything is completed, you can submit the unit plan for review by your team, line manager, or senior management - depending on your institution. 

You can either save the checklist by clicking to print the checklist and selecting print to PDF, or you can assign this task to the reviewer for them to analyse the content of the checklist. 

Alternatively, you can create the unit plan as a separate document. 

Use the email widget below to send the unit plan for review. 

Sources:

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