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Going Google with Long Range Plans

Mapping out the entire school year can be a daunting task for many reasons. Intentional sequencing of lessons and units, integration of curriculum expectations, and appropriate time allocation are just a few. Careful thought should be given to scaffolding learning so that students are able to build upon achievement and success throughout the year. Long range plans are vital in visualizing the year at a glance so that teachers are well equipped to create meaningful and effective units, lessons and tasks.

Where I teach, our long range plans are expected to include an abundance of information, including but not limited to subjects, strands within subjects and curriculum expectations. The end product is often a detailed and robust document. With the abundance of information however, it can easily become overwhelming, both when creating and when referencing. It's simply too much information in one document to be meaningful at a glance.

Fortunately, with Google Apps, there's an alternative to the traditional long range planner. The ability to link documents within Google Apps makes it an ideal tool for creating a Long Range Plan Launch Page, as shown below.



The two term year has been divided into four quadrants which, in Ontario, aligns well with regards to reporting expectations. One purpose of the Long Range Plan Launch Page is to display the main strands/foci covered in each subject in a clear and organized fashion. In addition, there are sections in each quadrant that allow for the integration of significant topics and subjects that are crucial to consider, but not necessarily addressed in the curriculum. These can be considered real-world learning goals for the year. Character traits such as respect, responsibility and integrity, to name only a few, are concepts equal in importance to the academic ones traditionally included in a long range plan, and in classroom instruction as well. In addition, Global Issues, big ideas that span grades and span nations, require our attention and integration when programming learning experiences. These issues may include topics such as, but are most certainly not limited to:

  • digital citizenship
  • environmental stewardship
  • conflict resolution
  • morality & religion
  • social justice

The Long Range Plan Launch Page provides a year at a glance which is meaningful and visually appealing, free from information overload. But what about those Curriculum Expectations which are required to be included in a long range plan? Here's where the beauty of linking within Google Docs comes into play.

Each quadrant had a link at the bottom which connects to a more detailed outline of that particular quarter of the year. For example:


Much of the information here restates the foci of the various subjects and real-world learning goals. The table also includes columns where curriculum expectations can be mapped out, along with any relevant notes. Personally, I use the Notes column for capturing any ideas related to integrating the various subjects and real-world learning goals.
















As you can see in the image above, there is an abundance of useful information in the detailed outline of the quarter, but because it is only a portion of the year, the inclusion of added information does not make it a cluttered, overwhelming document.

If you think that a system like this might be of benefit to you, feel free to grab a copy of the templates here: http://goo.gl/CN4LyD

Once you make your own copies of the templates, be sure to change all four links in the Launch Page, one per quadrant, so that your Launch Page links to your detailed view pages, not my original templates. If you are unsure how to change existing links, check out this article from GCFlearnfree.org.

Give it a try and share your experiences with us @inquireinspire #LRPlaunchpage

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