Pace Out Your Year Like a Boss {Free Pacing Guide Template Included}

You guys know I LOVE me some planning. I get soooo excited at the end of every year for the prospect of planning for a new year. This coming year was extra exciting because I got to plan and pace for a whole new grade level and content area. I relished EVERY minute of it.

I spent a lot of time working on this pacing guide for the upcoming year, but there are a few key things you need to keep in mind when you start to pace out your year.

YOUR DISTRICT EMPLOYEE CALENDAR

This is the first thing you will need when pacing and planning out your year. This will help you create a template for your year so that you know what days and weeks to block off of your pacing guide. I always like to note the short weeks with asterisks and use the weeks for review if they are only two or three days.

HAVE A COPY OF YOUR STANDARDS

The second thing you need is a copy of your state standards on hand. These are important for a few reasons. First, they give you an idea of how long you need to spend on each topic. Second and probably more importantly, they give you your specific content to plug into your pacing guide.

USE YOUR DISTRICT'S SUGGESTED PACING

Following your district's suggested pacing is a good idea because they may already have a suggested amount of time for you to spend on each topic. It is also helpful in that students who move to another school within the district may be able to keep on track with the pacing guide and pick up relatively where they left off.

PREVIOUS YEAR'S LESSON PLANS

If you have taught the content before, you also may want to use your previous lesson plans to help you get an idea of how long you need to spend on each standard. My content is new to me this year, so I am relying heavily on my district's suggested pacing guide. I will have a better idea next year of how much time I will need to spend on each topic.

HAVE A PACING GUIDE TEMPLATE

I am providing a free pacing guide template for you to use to plug in your material. Feel free to use the one I am offering or one that you already like using. There are so many great ones out there.

Now you are ready to get started pacing your year!

1. Start by plugging your school year dates  and holidays into your pacing guide template based off of your district calendar.

2. Using your district's suggested pacing or previous year's lesson plans, determine how long you are going to spend on each unit. I like to do it by unit first and then break it down by standard. For example, our science units are Science Inquiry, Astronomy, Earth's Structures and Processes, Earth's History and Diversity of Life, Waves, and Force and Motion. Here is an example...You get a good idea of the number of weeks to spend on each unit. This is not from my district because I cannot locate ours ANYWHERE on the internet, but you get the idea.

3. Once you have figured out the number of weeks you are going to spend on each unit, block it off on your calendar or other template.

4. Next, you want to break each unit down into smaller chunks by looking over your standards and deciding how much time you want to spend on each. Some weeks you may want to spend on multiple standards. See my example below. You will want to add the standard focus for each week and plug it into your template.  


5. This step is not necessary, but on the quarterly pacing, I like to color code it so that I know when each unit is moving to a new topic. You may also like to add your assessments into your pacing guide. I haven't done that this year because this is a new content. Maybe I'll get there next year. 😜

**It's important to remember that this is just a guide! Give yourself a couple of days here or there for things that may unexpectedly come up like assemblies, field trips, sick days, etc...** 

Here is an overview of the pacing guide templates.





They are EDITABLE and you can add your content for ANY subject, not just science. The adorable calendar guide idea was not my own! That idea was from True Tales of a Teacher! If you don't follow her on IG (@truetalesofateacher), you should. It's Instagram gold!  

Download this free template by clicking the image below. 


If you teach Science in South Carolina and are interested in the pacing guide I am using (which is already done for you), you can download it HERE


Science Survey

As I prepare for my first year as a middle school science teacher, I felt that it was important to survey my students and get their general feelings on science and assess their science knowledge.

I have always done back to school surveys for students as a way of getting to know them, so I felt like this was a great way of getting to know my students in a more scientific sense.

For a fun twist, you can also use the second version of the survey and do it gallery style! Get students up and moving to answer the questions. This is something that I have always done with my third graders at the beginning of every school year and it is such a fun way to get to know your students.


Grab this free survey by clicking my blog button below!




Student Information At a Glance {Freebie}

As you may already know, I am making the move to middle school this year, and I will have 5 classes to keep up with! I was trying to think of an easy way to have access to their information and so I came up with these information cards that I can color code by class. Self contained classes can certainly use this as well, you just wouldn't print the class tabs.


I recommend laminating the front card and the tabs for durability. Punch a hole in the corner and place on a ring and hang it next to your desk or in a spot that is easily accessible for you.

You can save your self tons of time if you have parents fill them out during Meet the Teacher or you can send them home on the first day of school with students to have parents fill them out. I personally don't want to fill out 80+  informational student cards. HAHA



Grab you FREE copy HERE!


Teaching Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning {Freebie Included}

Hey there friends! I am absolutely terrible about keeping up with this little ole blog, but I wanted to come and share with you all that I will be making the move to middle school this year to teach 8th grade science! (I know, I am a crazy person.) I have taught third grade for so many years that I just needed a change. I am VERY excited about the change and I have tons of ideas rolling around in my head.

After diving into the standards, I knew that students would need to learn to make claims and support them with evidence. This seemed to be a large theme throughout the standards so I scoured Pinterest like any good teacher and found the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning method for teaching argument writing in science.

I developed a set of resources that I think any science teacher would find helpful in teaching students to use this method with their middle level students. I love this also because the method of writing can be used in any content area! 

The unit includes:

  • A powerpoint to teach your students about the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning method
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning posters
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning doodle notes (filled in, guided, and blank versions)
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning guided notes mini posters for science notebooks
  • Anchor chart pieces
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning reference wheel
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning foldable
  • 2 different graphic organizers
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning sorting activity
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Song lesson 
  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Candy lesson
  • 2 Claim, Evidence, Reasoning passages with writing prompt to practice the writing method
Below is a preview of all of the resources that are included in the file! I hope you find them useful! I am excited to start my year off teaching students this important skill!







As a way to thank you for sticking around, please download a copy of the doodle notes for free! Just click the image below to grab your free copy!





Classroom Management Series: Part 6 {Organizing Your Classroom}

Sooooo, this is late...again. I apologize. This has been a crazy first week back to school! I was so exhausted Thursday night after meet the teacher and then last night I fell asleep at 8:00!

Today, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite classroom organization tips to help you in your classroom. These are all things that have saved my sanity or hopefully will this school year.







I saw this idea last year from Teaching with TLA and I immediately knew that this was going to solve my pencil problem. YOU KNOW what I'm talking about. Somehow, all of the pencils seem to magically disappear. I was going through pencils like crazy!! I have never found a better solution to this problem until I found this!


Each student is assigned a number at the beginning of the year. Every student uses their number for their Chromebooks, their cubbies, their headphones, etc. Anyway, I gave each student two pencils, a whiteboard marker, and eraser and labeled each with their personal numbers. They were tasked with keeping their pencil for the whole month without losing it. They must have their two pencils sharpened first thing in the morning as part of their morning routine. If one breaks, they have another one. I do also sharpen some extras and keep them at the back of the room, JUST IN CASE. But this worked amazing! No pencils were lost and students treated them like treasures! No erasers were bitten off. The points were handled with care. Seriously. I cannot tell you how happy this little chart made my heart...Definitely doing it again this year. If you have a pencil problem...You NEED to do this. These charts are available for purchase on Amazon HERE

I read a blog post many years ago by First Grader, At Last and it changed my life. I hated the whole move your clip around the chart and every kid has a different job. Honestly, I always forgot to change all the kids jobs and I just couldn't keep up with all that mess. This is literally the EASIEST thing ever! At the beginning of the year, I put all the girls and all the boys names on two separate flippable rings. The same boy and girl stay the helpers for one week. I let them do ALL the jobs! They take the attendance, they wipe the tables, they take turns leading the line and holding the door, anything you can think of! Here is an example because I never take a picture of mine. Save yourself the trouble...DO THIS. You will not regret it.


A couple of years ago, I found these AWESOME metal caddies at Really Good Stuff. They are a little pricey, but I used my back to school supply money to purchase them. They are durable and there is so much space for STUFF! I love the fact that it has the space for whiteboards or workbooks underneath. If only they came in NEON colors! 


I am implementing the book return bin this year after many years of frustration that students simply CANNOT put books back in the correct place even though EVERY bin and book has a matching label. SIGH. I am hoping this will solve all of my problems. My plan is to assign one afternoon car rider the task of returning the books for the next day.


{Photo Credit: The Creative Apple} I of course forgot to take a picture of my book return Friday...lol

For the last five years or so, I have graded papers and filed them into a bin like this. 


I use hanging file folders with students names for the inside. I purchased pretty neon ones this year. Once I grade an assignment, I put them in the kids folders. On Friday, I staple all of the students' work and pass it back for them to take home. Sometimes it ends up being every other Friday. Wooops.

I don't even think I really even need to explain this because it's like such a thing now. But, if you don't have one, you need one. I store every thing in this bad boy.


Mine looks almost just like this, except that it's black. My drawers are also all the same size. But, you get the picture. 

I have been doing this now for a really long time and it is one of the best things I have done as an educator. This year, we have a camping theme, so we have a CAMP binder. It is basically a parent communication binder. All important information goes home in the binder. We send our schedule, newsletter, class list, important papers, homework, and much more home in this binder. Students keep it all year long. It's amazing. I have parents say every year how much they love it! 

You can actually purchase my Themed Binder sets on TPT. There are many different ones included in each set. Just click on each image below! 




This will change your life. I swear. 

Drop me and comment with your favorite organization trick.