Question Detail

Planning curriculum as a new teacher?

Jul 18, 2014 12:45am

I was recently hired as a second grade teacher, and am anxious on where to start with planning curriculum. The first week I have planned pretty well, but I'm wondering how I can best manage planning my lessons throughout the school year without burning out. I am also at a charter school with no set curriculum, so I will be planning every lesson. My questions are...

1) How far in advance should I plan my lessons to fit the needs of my students?
2) How many weeks should I have prepared by the start of school?
3) How do I balance my personal life with the amount of planning that needs to get done this year?

I know these are remedial questions, but I want to have a great start to the year! Thank you for your help!


  • English Language Arts / Math / Science / Social Studies
  • 2


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    • Jul 19, 2014 12:38pm

      Congrats!!! I would first start by looking at online curriculum for 2nd grade so you have an idea of the topics one should teach to that age group. From there, it will make it easier to gather sources for each subject. What works for me is keeping an online file cabinet on Google Docs so my file are always readily available. If that is to much get a huge binder and start filling it up with the material you find. Hope you have a great first year.

      • Jul 26, 2014 5:51pm

        Hi Janie!
        Congratulations! First I agree with several of the suggestions here. The first thing is you need to plan your classroom procedures. I would suggest Harry and Rosemary Wong's books. They will help you set yourself up for success. Second, I would look to your standards, access them and study them. If you don't have any second grade teachers in your building then you will have to sequence your standards before you start creating units and lessons. If there are other second grade teachers in your building, see what they will give you! After sequencing the standards then you can begin to build units and lessons. If you are not familiar with creating units EQuIP by Achieve has exemplars posted at If you would like feedback on your unit/lessons, I am a reviewer for EQuIP and would be happy to provide you feedback. My email is

        • Jul 23, 2014 11:59am

          Congratulations. It does sound overwhelming without having a curriculum guideline in place. Look up your second grade standards online and print them out. Get together with the other second grade teachers so they can help you out. Teacher's edition books can be a good guide for the beginning while you get to know your students. The pacing will vary depending on your students. If 80% of them grasped the concept, I would move on and work with the 20% that didn't, in small groups.
          If there was a teacher before you, your principal should have copies of that teacher's lesson plans. Good luck.

          • Jul 26, 2014 10:51am

            1 & 2) I would prepare lessons in waves according to a unit. For instance, if you are a math teacher and you first plan to teach students how to solve equations, prepare all of your lessons on that topic at once, and when you are wrapping up that unit, prepare the next unit, and so on. This serves two advantages: one, you can flush out all of your ideas for a unit at one time rather than struggling to cling onto ideas for three weeks. Secondly, it will help you be more organized with assignments and assessments for that corresponding unit.

            • Jan 25, 2015 10:21pm

              Hi Janie--I hope your first semester has gone really well teaching second grade! I wanted to chime in and add that the responsive classroom books (especially, "The First Six Weeks" and "Parent and Teachers Working Together") were a huge help to me in my first year of teaching.