A Framework for Inclusive Unit Plans

At the outset, I want to wholeheartedly thank all Americans who have reached out to me and my fellow Indians during the deadly COVID-19 second wave in India. 

I find it fascinating that I have more readers in America than in India. The kindness, generosity, and respect I’ve received from teachers in America during my teaching career has been heartwarming and energizing. 

Dear American teachers, 
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week in your country. I dedicate this post to the connection I feel with you despite being far, far away. 

Most long term (yearly/trimester/unit) plan templates are concerned with learning goals, standards, knowledge, skills, assessment, activities, topics covered, etc. It’s safe to say that most long term plans address curriculum, a few good ones address pedagogy; but, most don’t address the single most important data point: what we know and don’t know about ourselves and our students.

Who are my students? What do they know? How do they learn? What are their strengths and struggles? What are their aspirations and obstacles? 

What are my strengths as a writing teacher? What areas am I working on? What role do my strengths and limitations play in my students’ learning? 

I’ve seen ‘stellar’ long term plans fall apart (and get forgotten as the year progresses) because they failed to acknowledge who they are made for. 

When your year plan is good, your trimester plan gets better. Consequently, your weekly and daily plans get better. They serve as guiding posts as the unpredictable school year goes by. They become a reference for the next plan you make. They help you have crucial conversations with your co-teachers who use the plans and with administrators who review them. They have the potential to lead to better learning outcomes. 

My long term plans have become a great deal better once I began to include what I know about my students and myself. 

In this post, I share with you a part of my inclusive year plan: an actual one I made with my colleague Alekhya pre-COVID. All student names have been changed to protect their identity.

Here are the bullet points in case you’d like to use them in for your class: 

  1. Who Are Our Students? 
    1. Strengths 
    2. Struggles 
    3. Group dynamics 
    4. Attitude towards learning
    5. Attitude towards the English language 
    6. Students whose struggles we know 
    7. Students with diagnosed learning disabilities 
    8. Students on the wait list to be tested 
  2. Who Are We?
    1. Strengths
    2. Struggles 

I’d love to hear from you about what additions / deletions in planning templates have served you and your students well. 

You can connect with me on Twitter @teachingtenets or on Facebook at facebook.com/movingwriters.

– Aishwarya

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