I'm just learning another reason it's good to be a Site Teacher Educator for the University or Utah. (That means I am a teacher who hosts student teachers. ) I am motivated to get tedious but critical work done early, so that I will be prepared to teach the budding teacher. Today I finished my "backward design" unit for Ancient Egypt and it's very good. It not only looks nice, but it also has clear objectives, interesting essential questions, and engaging activities. You see, I've gotta make sure my new student teacher will have a model of what I want him to help me do for our next two social studies units, one on Ancient Greece and one on The Silk Road. And I want to be very clear about what I expect for the units he'll be planning by himself for the three months he's going to be in charge.
Science and social studies are my least favorite subjects to teach, but being well planned does wonders for *my* engagement.
And I really love the backward design curriculum planning model. It helps me think about process and content and "big ideas" all at once. I made a one-page unit planning template that I'm going to use (or have my student teacher use) for most of the science and social studies units for the year.