I’m a confessed curriculum nerd, so when I was asked to create an annual plan (otherwise known as a pacing guide) for my three classes this fall, I didn’t look at the request as work, but more or less like a fun, organizational activity. The format for our annual plan was already selected by our administration, and while I understand the one-size-fits-all mindset might work in some instances, I was less than excited about working with this template.
Excel and I have never really gotten along and I’ve always preferred to work with Microsoft Word when I had the chance. I’ve had to watch a few Youtube videos in order to make my annual plan come to fruition, but here are a few excerpts:
Here is a link to my completed document: Yearly Course Outline English IV
When I think about the purpose of an annual plan/pacing guide, I think about the useful nature of the document for the teacher.
1. First and foremost, it helps streamline and prioritize the curriculum. Most teachers will spend the vast majority of their summer vacations researching and organizing units or activities within the unit. I moved up an entire grade level which caused me to add four completely new text titles because I will be working with the same students two years in a row. With all of this brainstorming and new materials, I need to be able to reign in the content into an applicable manner.
2. Identify timelines for how you will be able to cover the vast amount of content into a relatively short amount of time.
3. Assess the new standards. For myself and those other teachers who work in states where the new Common Core standards will be implemented, we realize that it’s now time to put up or shut up about our understanding of the requirements of the new standards. We have been through workshops, read articles, Think-Pair-Shared with colleagues and administrators, and now it is time to put them into action. Before you can truly understand where you’re going (Pacing Guide) you must be able to truly understand the what and how to implement the standards.
4. Matching how much your mouth can hold versus how much your belly can. In my ridiculous method, I am simply trying to say that the pacing guide is used to help trim the fat. If I could have the entire school year, minus vacations, assemblies, testing, etc, I would add about another three to five novels to my curriculum. I have utilizing four main texts: selections from The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Frankenstein, and 1984. If I could, I would ask my students to read John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. I know that I can’t afford to do this, go over my time budget, so realistically the pacing guide lets me know how much room I have left on my plate.
Question: How do you utilize your annual plan/pacing guide?