Since it's summer, it's a great time to sit down and really look at our overview for the next school year. What do we want our students to learn? Which songs and pieces will we use?

Long-range planning is a passion of mine, something I learned about in my Kodály training at Capital University, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I began to understand how all of the pieces fit together.

Here is a list of the different types of long-range plans for the music room and how I feel they fit together.

First, when planning out my year, I like to figure out my grade-level scope and sequence. This is an overview of which concepts each grade level will learn. For example, you could plan for first grade to learn sol-mi and la for melody; and ta, ti-ti, and rest for rhythm (or whatever you have time for in your year). This could simply be a bulleted list for each grade list.

Next, I like to write concept plans, also known as PPP's. These plans are an overview of all the songs and chants students will learn for a particular concept, with physical, visual, and aural activities for preparation, practice, and new practice, as well as the presentation process.

These can be a great "idea bank" for inserting activities into lessons to prepare or practice certain concepts. Here is an image of a partially filled out concept plan for sol, mi, and la:

After I write concept plans, I like to write song lists. A song list is an index of all the songs and chants that you will teach in a given year, categorized by concept. For example, for second grade, if you're teaching do, re, tika-tika, and half note, then your song list would have all of the songs you're teaching that year, indexed by concepts.

After I compile my song lists, I create my year plan for each grade level. A year plan is an overview of the entire year by grade level, including concepts taught, songs and activities taught, skills learned, program preparation, assessments, and more.

If it's too difficult to figure out the full year — especially if you are new to the school and aren't sure what the students know — you could do a monthly plan instead, with the same parameters.

I just discovered the unit scope and sequence for classroom teachers and adapted it to the music room. A unit scope and sequenceis a plan for how you will teach a particular concept, including specific activities in the order you will teach them, assessments, standards, and more.

This is similar to the concept plan, but you can figure out which lessons will include which activities from your concept plan, so you make sure that you are teaching the concept as thoroughly as you can.

Here is an image of the second page of my unit scope and sequence for ta and ti-ti for first grade:

Finally, we can lesson plan! Daily lesson plans include all the specific details for a grade level, with objectives, materials, procedures, etc. This is what you would teach from on a daily basis, using all of the above material to guide you.

You might not use all of these long-range plans to map out your year, but by reflecting on the tools which might be most useful to you, you’ll be able to create long-range plans that work well for you and your students. Happy planning!