Managing and planning for all the skills, strategies, standards, and curriculum we are required to teach may have us asking how we can keep it all straight. We may have national standards, state standards, and district requirements. It is almost impossible to keep track of all the details.
Below is a sample of the calendar we use to map out our whole-group lessons for the year. We refer to it as our curriculum calendar. The first year we created our curriculum calendar, we met over the summer with our grade-level colleagues to pore over our standards and curricula. The pile of resources was large and daunting. Together we mapped out a general plan for when we would teach which standards and strategies throughout the year. We keep this calendar in our conferring notebook and refer to it when we are teaching our whole-group lessons, and we update the document together based on notes we kept the year before.
This planning tool helped us feel confident that we weren't accidentally omitting the teaching of any required standard or content. That said, it is imperative to tell you that the most important part of this planning tool is that when the calendar shows what we want to remember to teach that week, we think, Do all of our students need this skill? If so, we teach it to the whole group. If three or four students need it, we teach it in a small group. If only one or two students need the skill, we teach it individually when we confer.
It is vital to keep in mind that the map is created before we even know this group of students. Its purpose is not for us to blindly follow it without considering each of our student's needs in an effort to cover material. Instead, it becomes a guide to help us remember to teach students the skills and strategies they truly need and those we are responsible for covering. This planning tool is intended to eliminate the piles of resources and instead, pull all of the material together into one document.
Below you will find two downloads. One is a sample of what might go on the calendar. You will also notice that it has numbers after some of the skills; those refer to alignment with our state standards.