Educators are some of the best project managers on the face of the planet. But what if there was a way to make all that planning a little easier using a simple visual tool you can make yourself?
Before you roll your eyes and sigh at the thought of another resource to deal with, keep reading to find out how a Gantt chart could make your life simpler (and don’t worry, there’s a free template!).
What is a Gantt chart?
A Gantt chart is a project management tool often used outside of education that can be easily incorporated into curriculum mapping, event planning, and other areas. It’s a way to visualize the tasks associated with a project, and see what items must be completed on a specific day. It also allows you to quickly see the start and end dates for your project.
How does it work?
Listed on the left side are the specific tasks (activities or events) that must be completed. Across the top are the time periods (hours, days, weeks, months, etc.). Each activity has a bar that extends across the time in which it must be completed. You can see what the activities are, when each one starts and ends, where tasks overlap, and the entire length of the project.
Can you give me a real-world example?
Say, for example, you’re an eighth grade teacher, and you have to cover the three MS.Structure and Properties of Matter NGSS over the next month. This is the perfect activity to map out across a Gantt chart.
Each part of the statement in each standard becomes its own task on your Gantt chart. You can include classroom activities or other items that must be completed in order to hit each standard, map out the time periods, and estimate how long each activity will take to complete. This gives you a roadmap to meet each part of the standard, and students can even see their own progress toward completing these activities. Rather than only seeing what was completed once the project is over, this gives everyone a chance to celebrate the journey and track progress.
Is there a resource I can use to get started?
Absolutely! There’s no reason to re-create the wheel, especially if you’re willing to try something new. Here is a template using Google Sheets that you can download for free. Make a copy for yourself, and try it out for your next content unit, curriculum map, or school event.
Love the Gantt charts? Try it out in class with your students, too!