How Many Units Do You Plan Per Year?

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by abrummitt, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. abrummitt

    abrummitt Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2008

    I will be a new elementary teacher (K-2) next fall and I'm starting to think about how to set up a year -- where to start??

    My biggest question right now is: How many units/thematic units do you guys incorporate into one year? Do you do units back to back? One per month? Fewer? How long do your units last for younger elementary students?

    Any input would be appreciated!
     
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  3. abrummitt

    abrummitt Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2008

    I will be a new elementary teacher (K-2) next fall and I'm starting to think about how to set up a year -- where to start??

    My biggest question right now is: How many units/thematic units do you guys incorporate into one year? Do you do units back to back? One per month? Fewer? How long do your units last for younger elementary students?

    Any input would be appreciated!
     
  4. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Oct 7, 2008

    Hello abrummitt. :) I'm not an elementary teacher, but I may as well be because my kids are k-2 cognitively. While I incorporate work skills into my daily routine, I also do a lot of elementary lessons when it comes to science, social studies, and art. I was lucky enough to obtain another sped teacher's unit list for a previous year and I basically adapted it to fit my needs. She taught 2-4 units per month so that's what I've been doing. For example, this month in science I am teaching the kids about animals. For story time I'm reading books on animals. When we watched a movie last Friday, it was Babe - the one about the pig on the farm. So everything kind of ties together. For Social Studies, we're studying careers. For art and math we're studying Fall and Halloween. So when we cook, we're making little fall/Halloween treats. Our art projects are fall/Halloween-related. etc. I'm pretty good at sticking with a theme for the entire month.

    Here are my units that I have taught/will teach this year:

    Sept. - All about ME, Five Senses
    Oct. - Fall/Halloween, Animals, Careers
    Nov. - TGiving, Simple Machines, Community/Transportation
    Dec. - Holidays, Weather, Customs & Traditions
    Jan. - Winter, Electricity, Inventions
    Feb. - Dental Hygiene, Human Body, Govt. Leaders
    March - Spring, Dinosaurs, Plants, Early Civilization
    April - Earth Day, Solar System, Maps & Globes
    May - Rainforest, Ecosystems, Insects

    Since you will be a gen ed teacher, you'll have to follow a particular curiculum and pacing charts for your district and that should give you ideas too. Good luck and congrats on the job! ;)

    ---by the way, good luck getting unit specifics on here. I asked the same thing about four months ago and you could hear crickets chirping. Either folks don't wanna type it out or it's like a secret recipe or something. :dunno:
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Oct 7, 2008

    Let's see.

    Open Court has 10 units. We skip one.

    So that would be nine.
     
  6. teach_each1

    teach_each1 Comrade

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    Oct 7, 2008

    I'd check out the mandated programs thread and then check with your district/school. What you are allowed to plan varies by district and you don't want to be doing work you can't use.
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 7, 2008

    I merged the two threads with the same title in order to keep the responses together.
     
  8. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    I haven't planned major themes at all, but I am totally just playing it by ear. I have Scholastic news so I am following that somewhat.

    My theme in September was simply getting to know each other, biographies (our own as shared writing and reading other people's)

    In October we are doing seeds, pumpkins, bats and other nocturnal animals, and Columbus

    In November we will do the elections, American symbols, and who knows what else?? Thanksgiving?

    In December I plan on doing festivals of light (a new holiday practically every other day, there are so many!)

    Beyond that I don't know? I think January should be Martin Luther King, Jr and then African Americans in history in February
     
  9. abrummitt

    abrummitt Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2008

    I asked the question because my current professor said not to do units back-to-back (because excitement needs to be built before each one) and that units for younger kids shouldn't last more than 2 weeks, or so.

    So would that mean approximately 1 unit per month.

    For example, in January a 2 week unit on Antarctica for 2nd graders and then not another unit until February?

    If so, how do you structure teaching BETWEEN units??
     
  10. maroki

    maroki Comrade

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    Oct 8, 2008

    I know when I was in college, I always thought I'd be doing thematic units throughout the year, and it hasn't been the case so far for me. Maybe that is why a lot of people haven't responded...they aren't getting an opportunity to do units at their school/in their district.

    I use all the Investigations in our math curriculum, and we have a district pacing guide that tells us the order of the books/investigations that we are to use during the year.

    Our reading program also has a mandated order that we use, and it goes through all the letters and sounds.

    Our FOSS science kit order is dictated by the district. In fall (September/October/November), we study insects. In winter (January/February) we study air & weather. In spring (March/April/May) we study balance & motion.

    In between all those things, I try to supplement and do some unit studies of my own, but they aren't as extensive or in-depth as I would like. Here are some of the ones I use throughout the year:

    September: Apples
    October: Fall and Pumpkins
    November: Fall and Seasons
    December: Holidays around the World
    January: Penguins & Arctic Animals
    February: Dental Health/Healthy Bodies/Nutrition
    March: Spring and Plants
    April: Plants
    May: Time and Money (in our standards but not our math program)
    June: Time and Money, Summertime

    I don't see a problem with doing units back to back, although usually the end of a unit consists of assessment and wrap-up and not a lot of teaching, so you won't be going from straight teaching to straight teaching.

    I would suggest anywhere from 3-6 weeks for a unit, depending on the unit. If you are studying something very specific, like apples, it can be a shorter 3 week unit. Something broader, such as fall and seasons, might take longer.

    I'd definitely plan units for future use, to have in the event you have the opportunity to use them! If you have curriculum to follow that doesn't allow much time for units, you'll at least have them to supplement or create mini units out of!
     
  11. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Oct 8, 2008

    Wha? My science unit in September was the five senses. I talk about what sense I'm using all the time while I'm teaching my NEW unit. I'm always using prior knowledge. Right now I'm teaching animals. I found some animal sounds online. Before I played them to see if the kids could guess the animals, I asked them which sense we would be using? Our ears. What do we do with our ears? We HEAR things! I dunno. I guess to each his own. I think it's best to teach in themes. I don't know any other way to do it but back-to-back.
     
  12. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 8, 2008

    Even if you have designated curriculum the curriculum has themes and units inside it. There are around eight different one-five week long units I do in math, three three month units in science, nine units in language arts, six units in social studies, five units in visual art that are around two months each.

    Two weeks and then wait two weeks between sounds weird to me. At the end of a unit we do assessment and closing and then on to the next. No in between wait time.
     
  13. teacherforlife

    teacherforlife Rookie

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    Oct 13, 2008

    units

    Your units will depend on your Science, Social Studies, Health SOLs. At least this is how I manage my units of study. I try to relate my SOL objectives to the time of year they best correlate. For example I do seasons in the Fall, I always do important people in history on their brthdays. I do body systems during February because of Valentines' Day(heart), Animal habitat/adaptations in winter, plants in the Spring, etc. We have to adhere closely to our SOLs. :)
     
  14. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Mar 22, 2009

    I teach using themes on a continual basis. So every week we have a new theme. There are times when the theme carries over into the next week, but mostly a new every week. I even give the kids clues to what we will study next week on Friday. They love guessing. Then on Mondays we do Making Words with the topics and that is when they discover our new theme.

    September - Laura Numeroff author study (IF YOu Give A series), Johnny Appleseed
    October - pumpkins, spiders, bats, halloween safety
    November - corn/popcorn, thanksgiving, native americans
    December - gingerbread man, Christmas around the world, Hannukkah, polar express
    January - penguins, polar bears (Artic vs. Antartica), snow
    February - bears and teddy bears, Fairy Tales
    March - St.Patricks Day (leprechauns), rainbows, animals that hatch from eggs, frogs and toads
    April - Peter Rabbit, Easter, reptiles, dinosaurs and deserts, rainforests, Earth Day
    May - Cinco de Mayo, Ocean, End of Year, Author Studies (Marc Brown, Margie Palatini, Kevin Henkes, etc.)
     
  15. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

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    Mar 22, 2009

    It really depends on the subject. For math, we basically have 10 units (Everyday Math), and those take anywhere from 2-4 weeks each. For reading, I teach each comprehension strategy as a unit, plus book clubs. We alternate science and social studies, so we do a new unit every three weeks or so. Those were units decided on my our school's curriculum teams. Finally, we use the Lucy Calkins UoS, so there's a unit a month or so there. We really don't do theme work then, per se, although I do try to do read-alouds around particular authors or subjects (e.g. while studying non-fiction conventions in reading and non-fiction writing, I read a lot of Gail Gibbons books in read aloud).

    Does that make sense?
     
  16. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Mar 22, 2009

    I didn't used to use themes. But I tell you I am so excited (not to mention the kids) each week to move on to something new. We go indepth and learn great things using themes. This is absolute best way to learn vocab. It just spices things up.

    Like this next week we will be learning about rainbows. All my read alouds and language arts will be related to rainbows. Science will involve rainbows and how they form, etc. We even use rainbows during math time. It is just fun! This fun motivate kids to pay attention and it makes a lasting impression on them. I honestly couldn't imagine teaching any other way now. My weeks don't blend together because we have something new to look foward to each week. The rest of my year is planned and I have to figure out a way to add another couple of weeks so we can discover more topics.
     
  17. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Mar 22, 2009

    We have one unit a week except for a few units that take 2 weeks. Our units are based on one major Social Studies or Science theme and we incorporate in the other areas as much as possible within reason. Usually there are a few center activities that go with the theme, a writing activity or 2 (aside from the writing during "theme" time), and 2 or 3 "morning work" activities. Some themes are more incorporated than others. My suggestion is to make a table with the weeks in one column, then fill in the obvious science and social studies themes - seasons, holidays, and the obvious connections (pumpkins in October, insect life cycles in the spring). Look at your state standards and fill in things where they fit and go from there.
     

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