My biggest advice about class planning is to plan the whole unit before you teach it and if possible make the test then too. That way you always are sure of where you are going and what points you are making. I think thinking in units is one of the best ways for kids to understand material. I think if tests are given because you need to give one or you give one every three weeks they may not be as meaningful and it may make it harder on the kids.
They need you to be clearly organized. Someone told me earlier on or I read it--teaching a class is like writing an essay. The class has a thesis or point you are making and it has support with the activities you are doing.
I know it can be easier , especially at first, to go one day at a time, but new teachers often run out of material that way. I never run out of material ; there is always something I can think of to do.
I think when you think of the work in units, you think of what is important, what to stress and why, you have the tests and projects done and in the end, I think you will find it easier to do marathon a unit, then to sit up night after night trying to figure out what next and losing the why of what you are teaching.
Think not just of content but of critical thinking skills. Anytime you can improve reading skills, writing or thinking skills I think you are on track. Even when I lectured I stopped and asked a million questions. Socrates had it right all those years ago with the Socratic question.\