This may seem redundant, but I found that unit planning comes up frequently as a topic of interest during workshops for beginning teachers. This is probably due to the overwhelming nature of the job and all of the simultaneous demands coming at you. Consequently, a weekly (let alone a daily) plan is as forward thinking as one can muster at times. It is tempting to use the plans included with some of the resources or someone else’s. However, designing your own is really helpful because you’re forced to really organize your thoughts and direction. The best format of a unit plan that I have ever come across was given to me by a friend at the Halton Board and was the template used by French teachers there. As someone who is very visual and relies heavily on graphic organizers, I immediately put it to use. Without getting bogged down by detailed descriptions, it is very simplistic and allows you to clearly chart a course of action.

Shaped in the form of a pyramid, the base is the featured language structures. What follows next are the diagnostic assessments and activities leading to the formative assessment. Finally the peak is your summative assessment. I always begin with the base of curriculum requirements and move on to create the summative assessment related to those. I then plan out the individual activities/lessons that students will need in order to be successful in the final task. What I really like about this format is it allows you to plot out everything and to foresee any possible gaps. In the end you’re left with an efficient, simplified yet cohesive vision that relieves the stress of incoherent and random planning. Both you and your students will benefit. I have included a blank template as well as one of my sample units. Strangely enough, unit planning can be as satisfying as cleaning out one of your messiest closets.

pyramid unit plan – sample
pyramid unit plan template


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