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!