The Perfect Unit Planner

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 18.51.14When I recently attended the PTC “Curriculum Leadership in the International School” my burning question was “How can we get teachers to enjoy and see the value in unit planning?”

IMG_6748Whilst unit planning is a necessity, often teachers don’t see the value of the unit planner in relation to daily classroom lesson planning.  However this is counter to experts’ current thinking, as illustrated in the recent ASCD Education Update (April 2015) article by Laura Varlas, titled “Writing a Master Plan”.



I had an epiphany at PTC one day, when my burning question was answered.  I was in a small group charged with designing “the perfect unit planner”.  We had group members from a range of backgrounds, including some IB PYP teachers.  So our ideal planner was modelled on the PYP.  I think this approach would help IBMYP and IBDP teachers.  Whilst IBMYP planners translate into excellent classroom practices, they can turn teachers off, with their complex web of layers, from global contexts, to key and related concepts, ATLs, statements of inquiry, and more.

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 21.02.34Here is my version of the perfect unit planner, based on what I learned at PTC, particularly in the session mentioned above and illustrated in the image.  I like the collaborative approach suggested by the use of the first person plural pronoun.  I also am hopeful that teachers would see the value in planning with these prompts.

I don’t know if it is “perfect”, but it definitely resonates with me.  What does your perfect unit planner look like?





About eadurkin

Originally a HS Mathematics teacher from New Zealand, currently working as Associate Principal in the Secondary School at Canadian Academy, an international school in Kobe, Japan. Married with two children.
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