How I long-term plan Part 1 – Prioritizing Standards and Units

I’m in my 7th year teaching middle school math and I’d like to think I have a pretty good idea of what to teach, how, when, and why. This is the first time I wasn’t given strict direction on units and planning so I took the opportunity to create from the ground up a year long plan that made sense for me and for my students.

I know this is a challenging area for new teachers so I am going to try to share some things that have helped me throughout the years to long term plan without too much extra stress.

First up – (everyone’s favorite) – STANDARDS!!

So this year I am teaching Pre-Algebra. I have two sections of mostly 7th graders, a few 8th graders, and I have two accelerated 6th grade sections. There are no Pre-Algebra Common Core Standards so this was a bit confusing for me at first.

I received a curriculum map at the beginning of the year with “Power Standards” – not sure how or why they were chosen or from what standard set. In the middle of the first unit another Curriculum Map magically appeared with different units and standards, most from Algebra and Geometry CCSS. (If you’re like me right now you are thinking whaaaaaat.. stay with me)

My students are regular 7th graders, not honors, and they will be tested on 7th grade standards for PARCC, so my first goal was to realign the curriculum map with 7th and 8th grade standards (to add in rigor)

I made a google doc with the units listed first:


I looked at the essential learning’s from each unit and pulled out objectives that I knew were 7th/8th level. I then matched those skills to 7th and 8th grade standards. If there were no 7th or 8th grade standards, they are still on the map but greyed out. We’ll get to them if we have extra time (because that happens so often in middle school math…)


I also added an objectives column that deals more with how I will teach the skills. (ie ratios with a double number line) Some of these are repeated and may not be a useful column.

After getting a handle on what standards I was teaching, I prioritized them based on the Major, Supporting, and Additional clusters document here. I colored the standards on my google doc the same way (green, yellow, and blue) to see where I should spend my time.


*I teach blocks so 12 days isn’t as super totally unrealistic as it seems! (well maybe it still is…)

I then highlighted each unit as either green, yellow, or blue depending on what the bulk of the standards were. I left the units in order so far to match up with what other teachers in my school are teaching (for interim purposes etc) even though the last part of the year has more supporting standards and the middle is just additional. I plan to just take more time on the major units, and scaffold them back into lessons during the units with only additional standards.


I made a cheat sheet at the top of my year long plan document (above) for easy reference with an outline of the months I’d like to be in each unit.


Whew.. lots of work! But so worth it!


Next up… Unit and daily planning! woooo!


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