Post-It Note Unit Planning

Last year I spent about 3 hours with each grade level team looking at the standards in each unit and pacing them out – very roughly – throughout the year. Where we fell short was in pacing out the standards within each unit.

Pace (Oxford):

~ do something at a slow and steady rate or speed in order to avoid overexerting oneself.

~ move or develop (something) at a particular rate or speed.

~ from pandere ‘to stretch’.

Post-It Note Planning is not new. But this process was new to me. And it has proven highly effective and appreciated by teachers involved. So I’m sharing with you! See below for examples…

  1. After identifying the standards taught within a unit, write 1 standard on each Post-It.
  2. As the team reads through each standard, synthesize into a few words or a mathematical phrase. Write this on the Post-It. (Coaching Tip: I might write the first one to model, but then as someone summarizes a standard I’ll say, “Great! Can you write that on here?”)
  3. Once all standards are complete, ask, “What standards are similar, need to be – or could be – taught together?” Group these standards together. (Like, physically move them.)
  4. Some standards might be “overarching” standards, which are taught throughout the unit. I designate these by placing them sideways along the side.
  5. We’re now ready to discuss pacing! Considering the students being taught, decide about how long each group of Post-It Notes might take to teach. You may have a group of 3 standards that will take 6 days, or a single standard that will take a month. Do this for all groupings. You’ve now paced your unit!
  6. Lastly, looking at pre-assessments, identify which lessons will support your students in meeting those standards.

NOTE: This practice is highly worthwhile regardless of instructional materials. If using an instructional material such as enVision, this exercise will provide the professional background knowledge to make informed choices about which lessons to spend more time on and which ones to merge or skip entirely.

Suggestions? Changes? Have you done this? Share how it went in the comments below!

Here are our examples:

2 thoughts on “Post-It Note Unit Planning

  1. Hi nova, I was in one of your sessions at cmc south and I was wondering if you would please tell me where I can access the short synapses video you posted at the end of your presentation. I teach my students about feeding their brain with knowledge and Id love to show them that clip.


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