Curriculum Template

Curriculum Templates and Unit Planners Designed for Schools

There are infinite ways to map your curriculum. Your curriculum template helps create focus and articulate the most important aspects for your school or district’s unit planning. Whether you are beginning an entirely new curriculum process or deep in the trenches of a current curriculum initiative, your curriculum template (or unit planner) is integral to your work, and the work of your school or district.

Supporting schools in designing, revamping, and updating their unit planner template is our forte. Here, we share some examples, insights, and best practices learned from years in the education field helping schools design and mange curriculum processes. In this curriculum template overview, we provide example unit planning templates to get you thinking about how you want to structure – or restructure – your curriculum template.

Reflecting on Your Curriculum Goals

In the beginning stages of designing your unit planning template, we encourage you to reflect on the following questions:

What is the purpose of your curriculum? What key initiatives do you want capture? Is your curriculum aligned to a specific pedagogy? Are there external mandates for your curriculum?

Knowing what characterizes your curriculum will help determine the design of it. Moreover, questions like these begin to inform the structure of your curriculum template. Establishing your template is a key aspect of initiating a curriculum development process.

As you continue to work, consider how you want to use the curriculum and what specifically you want to capture, such as core content, interdisciplinary connections, standards alignment, or school mission. Over the years, we have found that most templates have some consistent categories (keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to say the same category, so we have listed a few common ones): Skills or Objectives, Content or Knowledge, Assessment, Resources or Materials.

When thinking about your curriculum template, please don’t automatically take that best practice off the shelf and use it – really sit with it and think about whether this meets your needs. As you look at the examples below, make sure you are reflecting on your needs and curriculum aspirations.

curriculum mapping template
Template Examples for Designing Your Curriculum Map

Spark inspiration for next-level curriculum design with curriculum map examples from schools and districts across the world.

Explore the curriculum template library >>

Capturing the Basics in the Curriculum Template

Sometimes we just need to define a few key pieces of our curriculum – in this case Outcomes (also known as Standards), Content, Skills and Assessments. As you continue to develop curriculum you can always add additional categories at a later date but sometimes simple is best when beginning.

curriculum template

Curriculum Sans Standards

When standards are not an essential characteristic of your curriculum, check out how this school created a template that frames the curriculum around Essential Questions and looks to capture 21st Century Skills and Instructional Strategies.

Traditional Backwards Planning

Starting with the end in mind is definitely a best practice. This template breaks the curriculum template into three stages to help drive understanding in the curriculum process being followed.

understanding by design

Backwards Planning with a School-Specific Twist

Speaking of backwards planning, why not consider how you can add to it to make the template bespoke to your school. For example, Bayview Glen Independent School added a Stage 4 in which it identifies targets for school priorities.

Developing a Learning Plan in the Unit Planner

Sometimes we want to really focus on the “how” the curriculum gets taught. Schools will choose to capture not just Learning Activities but other areas of focus like Differentiated Instruction, 21st Century Skills and Tech Integration.

unit planner

Interdisciplinary Planning

We know that there is a lot of overlap from one subject to another but the question is usually – is it purposeful or accidental? Check out how a school made it a focus of their curriculum template with a section dedicated to Specialist Subjects and how they integrate with the core content.

To see the whole unit, visit Sigsbee Charter School’s public site.

Curriculum Template_Interdisciplinary Planning

Instead, if you are looking for something that is integrating directly into the template without having a separate section, many schools just add a category!

Curriculum Template_Interdisciplinary Planning

Encouraging Teacher Reflection in Unit Planning

Similarly, we know reflection throughout and after a unit is key – what worked ant did not? Support teacher reflection with a category for them to jot notes. That way, when the following year rolls around, they will remember how they need to modify a specific activity or make an adjustment to an essential question.

Teacher reflection

If you’re interested in adding similar categories to your school’s template, reach out to our Support team. And if you’re not (yet!) an Atlas client, learn more about the curriculum mapping platform featured in this blog.

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