Value of a Pacing Guide

One of the more difficult parts of teaching is pacing ones lessons. You can have the tried and true teaching methods but without a pacing plan of some sort, your assessments will be scattered. One must look at the end goal and then map out the sections of the year in such a way that will enable planning and delivery to meet those ends. If you are lucky (as I am) your district has a pacing guide they offer you to use and plan your lessons around. Unfortunately however, the work doesn’t stop there. You need (get) to plan and deliver the actual lessons the pacing guide dictates.

For me, the best situation has been to have all my materials in a central place. Then, as I read the pacing guide each morning, I can “pull” from my materials and use them under the overhead to teach through the day’s standards. I have written much here in the past about paperless teaching and how I don ‘t like the copy machine. I am usually able to get away without using it. As long as the kin-esthetic learners have paper and a white board (if available) you can get through the week with minimal copier usage. Having a trustworthy pacing guide allows you to focus on materials and other helpful things. Once you have it you can more robustly seek out lesson ideas.

What the kids need more than just “a worksheet” is a teacher who models the concept. If you are delivering lesson plans from the pacing guide each day, you are doing what you should. If you choose to use copiers after that, it’s up to you. Most the time I find myself making copies only because it is the “traditional” thing to do and not because it is crucial to learning. At the same time, I have seen first hand the power of daily calculated usage of the pacing guide. If you don’t have one already, I would say all teachers need one … unless you are a computer.


Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Value of a Pacing Guide”

  1. Hi. I am a new 7th grade EL teacher. Our principal wants us to start using the 7th grade Literacy pacing guide. It has what it wants us to teach from week to week. Ex Prentice Hall Literature . I have to come up with a two week lesson plan. I am not sure how to do this. Has anyone done this before, and how would I go about this? I feel dumb, but have to ask.

  2. Never feel dumb asking questions here. I am happy to give you my point of view. Perhaps he wants just the general learning objective and standards identitfied for the 2 week period? Other than that would be a bit cumbersome. It may mean he/she wants the full lessons for two weeks that all relate to one learning objective? Can you clarify what you are asking help with?

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