NOTE: Sorry for the huge wall of text, I just created. I've been told that 70% of all the work you do is done in your first 2 years of teaching. I'm embracing that by planning every thing this year during the summer, at least broadly so I don't have to worry too much about what I'm doing throughout the year, and I don't have to latch onto one of the cooperating teachers copying all of their worksheets and curriculum a day behind and mooching too much. I just wanted to kind of outline my planning process and get some tips or suggestions, or just general comments on it. 1. So I started out by looking at the state standards, which has actually been kind of confusing, because I haven't heard whether or not we're going to the Next Gen standards, or staying with the old standards. I basically chopped up the standards into a vague list of what they mean... i.e. "The velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know that average speed is the total distance traveled divided by the total time elapsed and that the speed of an object along the path traveled may vary." is shortened to down to: Motion - speed/average speed 2. I am now in the process of determining all of my learning objectives for the year. Basically a vague list of what I want my students to DO in my lessons. I am actually using Mind Map software for this, which is nice, because I created a web based on topic, and each branch of the topic is an objective, and I am able to link objectives, and topics together using the software to give me a really graphical version of it. I know teachers who do this by hand and use lots of highlighters or coloring utensils, but I have horrible hand writing and zero art skills. I use Freemind, which is really nice intuitive software: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page 3. After this, I think I will start planning the actual units. I had created this generalized unit planner: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B7fdLKjXoelyaDZ2RzZGdDJ5NVE It includes all the usual spots for the title, standards, lesson objectives, etc., but the main parts I want to focus on is getting a "Why" activity for each unit, and this is something that is difficult. It has to be an engaging activity that leaves zero room for doubt as to why learning this topic is important. The biggest complaint I have from students, is the question (and yes this question is a complaint) "Why do we have to learn this?" Rather than having to come up with imaginative answers every time that question crops up, I'd rather just shove it in their face at the beginning of the unit so throughout the unit if they ask me again, the conversation should go like this: Student: "Why are we learning this again?" Me: "Remember when we did ______________ last week?" Student: "Oh. Yeah..." Me: "Yup. That's why." I've also been told that the major reason students do not put effort into learning things, is because it's simply not relevant to them. Hopefully this will provide them that relevance, and if things are really going well, they will be intrinsically motivated to learn this topic because of that why activity. Such an important activity is naturally not easy to come by or devise, and as of yet, I am still having issues coming up with one, rather than enough for every unit. Then I just have a bunch of boxes for planned "lectures"/activities, labs, demos, and projects. Generally speaking, every lecture (which are usually very short 10-15 minute note-taking/discussion sessions) is paired with a demo. The demo has to be more than a "this is an example of a blah blah blah". They must be surprising and unexpected. I call it the "Quirk Factor", and every lesson should have it, and should even be integrated into my classroom management. I am quirky by nature, but the quirk factor requires more planning to maximize the "whoa" potential. It pretty much has to be a small production. Hard to explain, and I don't have a concrete grasp on it yet, and probably won't until after a few years, but I have the general feeling of where I need to be. Labs and activities have to be frequent. Projects less frequent, and some units may not even have them, though assessments are regular. The second page of the unit planner allows me to place the lessons, labs, etc. in sequential order, to kind of get a feel of what comes after what. I am having a lot of trouble at stage three though, because I have to have a general and broad idea of what types of labs and activities I want my students to do, and this requires a lot of research and searching for things, or making my own worksheets. Then I also have to determine what materials I need. I think this is the most work intensive stage. 4. Then I have to create the daily lesson plans, and I think I'm going to be doing that using a google form I've made: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDFwSXNTdzR4SzVRN2Zsak9DZURKbXc6MQ The lessons planned won't be pretty, since it will just all be in an excel sheet, but it is the documentation required to ensure that my lessons are meeting standards, and I have rationale for why I am doing all the things I am. I probably will do this step as I go during the year, and it won't be something I do this summer. 5. After that, all I have to do is carry out the lessons. So, what do you guys do? Any things you would change about my process?