In today’s podcast, I want to talk to you about creating a yearly plan and share a quick overview of the steps that I take in preparing my curricular plan for a new school year.
Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Two to three times a week a PE expert will share a tip, activity idea, or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is a passionate elementary physical education teacher leader and national presenter from Geneva, Illinois, Mike Graham.
Typically during the summer I’m going to sit down and begin planning for the upcoming year. One of the first things I like to do is to set up what I refer to as my yearly plan and this yearly plan basically serves as a point of reference for me so that I can see all of the units and skills and concepts that I’m teaching at a glance and when I get this piece done, it kind of lets me relax because now I can build my assessments and my units and my individual lesson plans, but I have to have that yearly plan framework or template in place before I can do a lot of those things. Now there’s a couple of things that you’re going to need in order to do this and uh, the first thing is you got to get a copy of your school district calendar. So print off a copy of that. That’s gonna have all the important information that you need to plan out your school year it’s going to have obviously the holidays and days off, vacation days, half days. Uh, it’ll tell you when you’re marking period, grading periods end and the next thing you’re gonna need is, uh, some kind of monthly calendar. Now it doesn’t matter if you prefer like a paper calendar or an electronic one, but you, you definitely need something. I like to kind of create my own because it lets me customize things the way that I like them. Now this is going to be a working document and by that I mean it’s going to change throughout the year. Things come up like field trips and assemblies or maybe you’ve got days missed due to inclement weather or whatever. So I like to have the flexibility to just change that around accordingly.
The next thing I do after I have my district calendar and the calendar template that I’m going to plug in, I get a copy of the national standards, the grade level outcomes from Shape America and that document is going to serve as a guide from me and let me know which skills and concepts should be taught at what grade levels and I teach Kindergarten through 5 so there’s a lot of content to fit in in the given year and I only see my kids twice a week so that makes it even more difficult to get through everything. But keep in mind that the Shape America Standards – Grade Level Outcomes were written on a, written for a five day-a-week program. So give yourself some grace if there’s things that you don’t get to in a given year. I know there’s definitely things that I don’t cover in a year.
Many of you also might, you might prefer to use your own state standards or uh, maybe you have to use those over the national standards, but the process is going to be pretty much the same. Once I have my, my calendar in front of me, I start, the first I do is I start to look for blocks of time that have full weeks. I try to place things on the calendar that I considered to be like the, the a need to know skills and concepts. I put those wherever there’s uninterrupted weeks and those nice to know activities like I dunno, a parachute or scooters or cup stacking or something, something that I don’t want to do a long extended unit on – just maybe a day or two here or there. I’ll put those on like any shortened weeks. Me personally I like to start the year with a lot of team building activities, especially with my older students and my younger students spend a lot of times on things that I call just procedural activities like starting and stopping on the signal and finding a partner, you know, making groups or sorting out equipment, just your basic class management type stuff. And for me this takes about three or four weeks at the beginning of the school year because when we first start we like go back to school on a Wednesday and then the second week of school we have Friday off and the third week of school was a holiday Labor Day. And so then we’ve got, you know, the first three weeks of school, we don’t have a full week, it’s not until that fourth week and so in those first three weeks of school, some classes I’ll see six times, some classes I’ll only see three. So kind of kind of plays havoc on my schedule. But pretty soon my calendar is full and this is where it’s nice to have this document because it shows me at a glance what I’m teaching, but it also gives me the flexibility to shorten or lengthen a unit based on what the students are demonstrating during class.
It also helps keep me organized so that I know in advance which units are coming up and as I come across new activities on Twitter or on talking to other colleagues, you know, if I find something that might tie into something I’m going to teach, well now I’ve got a spot to kind of plug those things in and that’s really it in a nutshell. I mean those are the three things you need. You need the district calendar, you need some kind of calendar to write those things in and have a copy of the grade level outcomes. Now if you want more details on setting up a yearly plan, do what I did do a Google search type in PE yearly plan, you’re going to find a ton of great resources from other PE teachers um… sharing the different systems that worked for them and if you click on images, you’re even gonna be able to see a ton of examples that you might want to use as a template. So remember, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. Don’t do that to yourself this year. Don’t do it to your students. Spend the time to create a yearly plan this summer and know what you’re gonna teach all year long.