The MYP unit planner consisted of three aspects:
- Inquiry: establishing the purpose of the unit;
- Action: teaching and learning through inquiry;
- Reflection: considering the planning, process and impact of the inquiry.
MYP unit planning process is not linear, but iterative. Teachers can begin to develop their unit of work from different entry points. It is also a collaborative process and I strongly recommend to plan a unit with the same grade-level subject teacher. I enjoy planning a language acquisition unit with the Spanish teacher at my school. During the planning process, we both learn about each other's culture and have an idea of how the unit might look differently in a different target language.
In my opinion, there are several benefits of writing a unit planner.
- First, it gives me a clear picture of what will be taught and assessed (establishing the purpose of the unit). The MYP curriculum is concept-based. One unit of work usually lasts for at least 20-24 hours to allow inquiry taking place. Without clear identification, the unit might become too vague and has no focus. MYP teachers are required to identify the following components in the planner: (1)key and related concepts; (2)global contexts; (3)statement of inquiry; (4)inquiry questions; (5)objectives; (6)summative assessment; (7)approaches to learning (ATL).
- I find it helpful to use the MYP unit planner as an organizer for my weekly lesson plans. By doing so, I can sequence the content knowledge and skills and plan student learning experience accordingly to help them achieve success in their summative assessment tasks.
- Additionally, I enjoy collaborating with the Spanish teacher in the same grade level at my school. Writing a unit planner is not a very easy task. Two heads are better than one. During the planning process, we brings in our personal experiences and share views from our cultures. We discuss how the unit might work when being delivered in a different target language. Through the process of collaboration, we have also enhanced our understanding of the MYP unit planning process.
Unit planning is a process! If teachers can use the unit planner to help inform and sequence daily teaching and learning activities, writing a unit plan might not seem as tedious. Just don't till the last minute! Trust me, you will be very unhappy.