How to Start Planning Your ELA Block

Planning for ELA

Day 6! We’ve made it to the last day. Today, we are going to talk about actionable steps to take, now that planning your ELA block is laid out… So, get that pen or pencil ready!

Don’t forget, if you want to use a workbook study guide to help with planning your ELA block, follow along with these notes, download it here!

How to set up your reading and writing time when planning out ELA block with a to-do list.

Let’s Start Planning

You’re going to make a massive to-do list! Write down everything you need to do before planning your ELA block. I like to do a “brain dump” first, writing every single thing down. Then, I take that brain dump list and organize it into more structured to-do lists. You’re going to write down things you need to buy, things you need to organize, things you need to get in place for a structure to occur.

How to set up your pacing guides when planning out ELA block.

Locate or Create Pacing Guide

Your next step is going to be locating or creating those ELA pacing guides. Your school or district may already have pacing guides to follow, or you can grab my FREE pacing guides here.

The goal is to plan how you’re going to incorporate each of the CCSS (or your state) ELA when you’re planning to teach them throughout the year. You can create your ELA pacing guide by using the standards that you printed from yesterday’s blog tasks! Highlight or check them as it’s worked into your pacing guide to make sure all standards have been hit at least once during the year.

How to set up your long range plans when planning out ELA block.
Planning out ELA block by plugging into a monthly plan.

Plug Standards Into Monthly/Weekly Plans

Now, you want to plug those standards or unit topics into your monthly and weekly ELA block plans. You can use the free templates that are linked at the bottom of the blog post (or here) to ensure you have everything covered!

Write in pencil! Typically you will start planning out the standards and realize you either need to double up weeks or shorten the time. It’ll probably take a few drafts to get your perfect ELA block plan. Start plugging in your topics/standards for each of the six domains. If you do this now, your weekly lesson planning will be SO much simpler and less time-consuming!

Keep a checklist of all ELA standards throughout the year to keep pace.

During Year, Track Standards

We all know that plans are adapted and changed from our long-rang plans! So, it’s essential to keep track of what you’ve taught throughout the year. This checklist is in the 30-page download that you can sign up to get for free. The sign up is at the bottom of this blog post too! This checklist is a great way to track your progress! You don’t want to get to May and realize you still need to teach six of your ELA standards!

Planning your ELA block - Evaluating materials and resources.

Let’s Talk Resource Collection

Now, you want to look into your ELA materials. Think about all of the ELA block preparation you’ve just done, all of the components you’ve just considered: Mini-lessons, partner and group activities, exit slips and assessments, small group lessons and materials, literacy work stations and centers, etc. Look at the materials that you organized in one of our previous blog post tasks. What materials do you have? Which standards are covered? Which standards still need materials?

You want to start building your resource collection so you have materials that cover every standard you’re required to teach. Consider looking into “standards-based” materials so that your lessons can be more explicit and your students will gain more direct skill mastery.

(This checklist is also part of the 30-page download!)

Standards based resource collections.

Ready-made Standards-Based Resource Collection

If you found that your resources are lacking in the last step, I do have standards-based resource collections for K-4. These are CCSS units for each ELA standard (for all six domains). They can be purchased individually. For example, if you have resources for most of the standards, but are lacking in RL.7, you can just grab the individual unit for that standard! Or if you have loads of Reading Informational and Literature resources, but you don’t have enough to teach all of the language standards, you can purchase a language bundle, which is a money-saving collection of units in one place. Or if you’re ready to get a full year’s curriculum, those are available for 5-grade levels. Look below for links!

Each unit comes with mini-lessons and activities, graphic organizers, reading passages, interactive notebook pieces, task cards, and an assessment.

Would you rather browse individual ELA units? I’ll link the grade levels below and you can either search the six pages of units, or you can click the domain categories on the left. Click the links to browse the individual ELA units:

ELA Planning for all year.

Also, to make it even easier for you, if you click the “ELA Units” tab at the top, it will take you to a page with direct links to the FREE pacing guides, FREE binder covers, and links to the all-year ELA bundles.

Getting started planning your ELA block.

Thank you so much for sticking with us through this ELA Planning Journey! I hope that this blog series has helped you organize your ELA block, offered engaging resources, and helped you fit all of your content in! Good luck in this back to school season! Happy teaching!

If you missed any of the previous content, here are all the links just for you!

  1. Questions to ask yourself before you plan
  2. Different structure options
  3. Planning out what it will look like
  4. Plans to differentiate
  5. ELA Organization Tips
How to set up your reading and writing time. Your next steps when planning out ELA block. How to set up your pacing guides, planners, schedules, and more.


Get this K-4 pacing guide sent directly to your inbox.


You might also like...