Effective Practices

Develop Effective Unit Plans



Burning Questions

Do I have to create units from scratch?

Of course not! Use the district curriculum and other resources whenever available. Additionally, many experienced teachers have already created units and are willing to share. However, no pre-designed unit plan will be perfect (as is) for every classroom, so teachers can use pieces from resources available to create a unit plan that meets the needs of their specific students and teaching style.

Are unit plans adjustable?

Teachers may think unit plans must be adhered to strictly; however, unit plans are living, breathing documents. Unit plans serve as a guide, so teachers should budget time wisely and plan time for adjustments based on student needs. Reflect on units done in the past and use that knowledge to plan better in the future.

Is unit planning time consuming?

Some teachers shy away from unit planning because they feel it is time consuming. Creating a unit plan will actually ensure that more time is saved for instruction. A unit plan takes away the necessity of planning day to day and it allows for teachers to address student and classroom needs more strategically and purposefully. The length of time needed to write an effective unit plan should vary depending on the timeframe allotted for the unit and the complexity of the material.

Quick Tips

Once a list of needed resources and materials have been identified, decide the best way to organize those materials to maximize instructional time.

Unit planning is a great opportunity to involve other teachers. Collaborating with other teachers will provide a multitude of ideas and will lighten the work load. Discuss within the PLC learning activities or strategies to foster student engagement and depth of learning.


Example of a 5-Day unit to introduce Nonfiction Elementary

Unit Planning


Teaching as Leadership