How many times have you heard it said that good planning and organization are the keys to success? Plenty, I’d say. And for good reason. Even more so in environments as changeable as the classroom or online learning platforms.
Teachers know well that each day is an adventure, and it’s best to be prepared with all your resources, guidelines, and activities fully planned out so that nothing slips through the net. The best way to do this is with a unit plan.
Did you know you can create an interactive unit plan to use with your students? Let’s take a look at what that would look like and how we can take full advantage of its benefits. We’re positive that once you get the hang of it, your daily routine will go much smoother.
What is an interactive unit plan?
A unit plan is an ordered set of content and activities that correspond to some previously established learning objectives. Additionally, it includes all the necessary information to successfully plan all teaching sessions related to a specific topic or theme.
Included in the plan is the number of teaching sessions, their duration, and the learning objectives to achieve, as well as the assessment criteria and evidence which will determine the level of achievement of the students. The unit plan is divided into 3 phases: beginning, development, and closing. Each one has its own characteristics, objectives, and types of tasks that are presented to the students.
There is no doubt that a well crafted unit plan is a powerful tool for teachers. But what if we could also add interactivity? With Genially’s interactive unit plans, we take advantage of the potential of the digital world to create authentic learning experiences in which students can explore, grow, and deepen their knowledge.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, read on, there’s more.
Why use an interactive unit plan?
- You’ll have all your teaching resources for a topic, concept, or theme in one place
Just imagine the headaches you’ll save yourself by having all the resources and information necessary for the unit plan together in one place: games, interactive images, escape rooms, educational breakouts, quizzes, it’s all there.
- You’ll save lots of time when planning your lessons
When you’ve got your interactive unit plan made, you can be sure that planning your teaching sessions will be a whole lot quicker. And, using Genially is so intuitive that you’ll be turning out teaching materials as fast as lightning.
- Your students will be more involved in their own learning
If you share your unit plan with your students, they’ll be able to better understand what the objectives are and how you’ll evaluate them. And, you’ll be promoting their autonomy as they’ll be able to work on the learning materials and resources at their own pace.
- You’ll be able to modify and adapt it for future needs
Have you discovered a new activity that would be perfect for your students? You can add it in no problem. Maybe you’ve realized the timing or the objectives aren’t realistic and you need to adapt them for future occasions. Go right ahead and change whatever you need to. You can reuse, update, and adapt your unit plan whenever and as much as you like.
How to create the perfect unit plan
It’s time to create an interactive unit plan. Let’s look at how to make the most of all its elements so that it is motivating, easy to use, and offers an innovative and effective learning experience.
You already know that creating a unit plan with Genially is easy as pie as you can personalize it as much as you want. Now all you need to do is choose the template that best suits your needs.
If you’re an elementary school teacher, you’ll love this template. It’s got everything! You just need to complete it with the info and resources your students need.
Are you a middle or high school teacher and do you need a design that’s age appropriate for your students? With this template, you can show your students all the details of a unit plan for any topic or subject.
Before starting to create our plan, the first thing to do is define the learning objectives or outcomes. They should be clear, specific, observable, and measurable. Once you’ve got the objectives down, it’ll become clearer what materials you need to teach, how to teach them, and how to evaluate them according to the appropriate criteria. To do this, you’ll need to know your students well and create the unit plan with their particular needs and context in mind.
Now that you’ve seen the best templates for creating great unit plans, let’s look at each of the stages of the plan: beginning, development, and closing.
Phase 1: Beginning
In the same way that we stretch before we exercise, to get our brains ready for action and learning we also need a bit of a ‘warm-up’. To achieve this, and to encourage learning, it’s fundamental to emotionally prepare students at the start of the unit plan. How? Here are some suggestions:
- Dare to spark your students’ curiosity
Grab their attention and stimulate their imaginations by presenting them with the unfamiliar. Use your storytelling skills to connect with their interests and bring them into real world situations. And if you want to get them involved right away, hit them with a question or dilemma and get them to share their opinions.
- Tap into all the potential of multimedia to trigger engagement
Videos, images, podcasts… For example, if the topic of the unit plan is caring for the environment, how about showing them a video about the quantity of plastic in our seas and oceans? Then you can ask them the following questions:
- What do they think happens to bottles of soda or water that we throw away?
- How can we prevent them from ending up in the sea?
- After summarizing the main ideas, get your students to check what they know using a quiz
Passing a small, informal quiz will help them feel confident and ready for future learning sessions. If they find any of the questions difficult, they’ll know what they need to focus on before they move on. If you also add a little feedback at the end of the quiz, even better.
By reflecting on their prior knowledge and checking if they’re ready to continue, they’ll be more responsible and take ownership of their learning. Now it’s on to the next step.
Phase 2: Development
Finally! Now we’ll design our teaching sessions to meet the objectives we set in the beginning. How many sessions will we need? We’ll take into account the materials, timing, and the goals we want to achieve. In our unit plan template there are 3 sessions, but you can personalize it and add or delete as you see fit.
- Start with a mind map. Link the different concepts that will come up and demonstrate the hierarchy between them. Make it interactive and turn it into a studying resource for your students. It’ll help them to remember the relationships between the different concepts much better.
- In the different learning sessions, highlight the priority information and structure the content from simplest to most complex. To organize the information in the clearest possible way, why not use a timeline or an infographic? You’ll help your students to understand it better, they’ll be able to delve into the info at their own pace, and you’ll create mental structures that they can replicate when studying.
- Use visual and interactive resources that motivate them, such as a gallery of images or videos, interactive images, flashcards, etc. which will help them understand and retain the information.
For example, keeping with the theme of protecting the environment, let’s use an interactive image which shows different types of plastic and trash in the sea. Place an interactive point on each type of plastic which reveals how long it takes to decompose, for example. You can also insert interactive flashcards to show the before and after states of the seas and oceans. From there, the students can debate about the origins of the trash and the dangers it causes, as well as propose solutions at an individual and collective level to improve the situation.
Much more fun than learning from a lifeless PDF, isn’t it?
- We’re certain that your students will finish each session with tons of interesting ideas. Why not surprise them with a board game where they have to give short presentations according to how they land in the squares? You could even invite them to create their own interactive presentations or infographics in Genially. It’ll be the perfect finale for this second phase, where they can pool their ideas, come to a consensus, or indeed open up new paths and questions for future sessions.
- Check that they’ve assimilated the new information with a quiz at the end of each session. Little quizzes peppered throughout the unit plan help the content to stick and allow students to assess themselves and make decisions in order to get their learning on track. And they’re not nearly as intimidating as exams.
Phase 3: Closing
We’ve made it to the end! At this point, it’s always a good idea to revise what they’ve learned. Let’s look at how.
- Include a summary of the key ideas. You decide how detailed it is. Give each idea a catchy title that’ll be easy to remember, add interactivity, and let them explore.
- Incorporate the final quiz which evaluates what they’ve learned throughout all the classes or sessions of the unit. This time, as it’s the last quiz, include feedback after each response (whether right or wrong, but especially if they’re wrong). You can give clues or snippets of information which will help them reflect until they find the right answer.
And this is just one small example of how you can use Genially in your daily life as a teacher. Tons of possibilities, zero complications.
The Genially templates are structured and predesigned so that you can focus on what really matters to you: the best learning materials for your students. Start by substituting the texts, images, and elements in the unit plan templates. It’s so simple that soon you’ll be creating unit plans that are more and more personalized and spectacular.
Can you think of more ways to use Genially’s interactive resources in your classes? Let us know in the comments!