Planning Units of Work

There are many different approaches to incorporating the Essential Learning Achievements (ELAs) into classroom curriculum planning. Regardless of the approach, the starting point at your school will be the school’s curriculum (see scope and sequence).

You and your work colleagues will need to make decisions now about the essential content while planning units of work.

Some questions to consider as you begin to plan your units of work.

Questions to keep in mind as you write your units of work.

Examples and templates of models commonly used to support your planning.

Some questions to consider as you begin to plan your units of work:


· What do you want the students to learn, (essential and worthwhile content)?
· What topics will best suit the content?
· What do the students already know?
· Why does this learning matter?
· What are you going to get the students to do (or to produce)?


· How will you sequence and organise the learning?
· How will the unit of work meet the learning needs of all students (including those who need extending and the students with learning difficulties)?
· How will you ensure that the learning opportunities have value and meaning for all students in and beyond the classroom and school? (significance)
· How will you plan the learning to ensure it has intellectual quality?

How will you know?

· Are classroom teaching and learning plans firmly based on the whole school curriculum plan?
· How will you assess for learning and of learning?
· How well do you expect the students to do or to produce the work?


As you write your units of work you might keep in mind some of the following guiding questions:

What is the unit? Where does it sit in the school organisers and scope and sequence?
Is it an integrated unit?
Does it belong in a KLA?
What are the big ideas? What are the central ideas of the topic?
What are the key concepts/enduring understandings I want to students to have at the end of the unit?
Which ELAs are addressed in this unit? Have I selected too many ELAs?
Am I trying to cover too much?
What are the outcomes for this unit? What do I want my students to know, understand, do and value by the end of the unit?
How will I assess? What ongoing assessment process will I use (assessment for learning)?
What rich assessment tasks will I construct to evaluate student achievement (assessment of learning)?
What is the content? What essential content will I include in this unit?
Have I made sure that the outcomes, essential content and learning experiences are all linked?
What activities will provide the best opportunities for maximising student learning? What learning experiences will help my students best meet the outcomes of this unit?
What specific materials and resources will I use?
How will I differentiate activities for individual students?
Do these experiences provide intellectual quality, quality learning environment and significance for my students?
Reflection: How will I evaluate the effectiveness of this unit?


Examples of models to support your planning.

In this section we have included a variety of templates (some of which are based on the following methods, some are templates designed by teachers) that may be adapted to meet the needs of your school.

Backwards design is an instructional design method developed by Wiggins and McTighe and is part of their larger Understanding by Design framework. The model suggests a planning sequence: identify desired results; determine acceptable evidence; plan learning experiences and instruction.
[Digital] Literacy; ReTHINKING Education and Training in a Digital World, Portland State University, 2008, viewed 16 January 2008.
Template (Word, 24kb)

The five Es:- Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration and Evaluation form the structure for planning. The model aims to increase engagement and develop greater questioning by students through the exploration phase.
Miami Museum of Science, 2001, viewed 23 January 2008

Teacher designed models. Many experienced teachers prefer to plan using their own designs. There are many varied ways in which teachers select and arrange their plans to ensure quality teaching and learning. The templates below are examples of this.
Template (Word, 97kb)
Template (Word, 82kb)