Wednesday, January 25, 2012

planning makes perfect.

Everyone that knows me knows I'm a planner. Like an obsessively nerdy kind of planner. If it's not on my calendar, it's not happening. It's kind of a problem. This trait is flushed out at school in my lesson plans. One of my absolute favorite things to do is school is PLAN! I know, right? Who actually likes writing lesson plans? That would be me.

When I was in second grade, I asked for a lesson plan book and grade book for Christmas so that I could be JUST like my second grade teacher. I could not WAIT to plan activities, crafts, writing topics, and reading responses! As much as I loved my lesson plan book when I was a tike, I have found that the store-bought planners are just not for me. During my student teaching experience, I found out so fast that I spent more time crossing out subject/content areas in my store-bought planner and replacing them with the subjects I would actually be teaching than actually planning those subjects. Not. OK. There are too many changes in schedules, special classes, performances, and overall mayhem in a first grade classroom to be wrangled into a mass-produced, spiral-bound planner.

The result of this ban of store-bought was me creating my own planner. For my first two years of teaching, I created a new lesson plan book over the summer that contained my unique schedule and outline of the day, had it printed and bound, and plotted my revenge on the store-bought tycoons. But this past summer, I decided to try a little something different. I decided to eliminate the spiral-bound book, save some space on my desk, and try to plan each of my lessons on the computer weekly. I felt like I could utilize the otherwise empty space on the side of my filing cabinet and display my lesson plans on hooks or magnets. Going digital AND save precious desk space? Yes, please.

I spent the next couple of days copying, pasting, cropping, and inserting to create the perfect lesson plan format for me and my kids. Click the picture below to see the entire plan!

I then print my lesson plans each Friday and hang them from two Command Hooks here.

I LOVE the arrangement! I love that I my plans are constantly right in front of my eyes and always watching to make sure I don't deviate from them too much. But everyone who knows anything about teaching elementary school knows that a day in the life of a first grader can't just be written on a plan and then magically result in a fabulous lesson! There are books, papers, craft supplies, visuals, posters, diagrams, and much much more that makes those lessons actually happen. I needed a place to corral all of this good-ness! I had seen this file system from Lakeshore for $50, but I knew I could accomplish the same idea for cheaper!

To Office Depot I go! I was not disappointed in my finds.

I purchased five clear magazine files and twenty folders in five different colors (one color for each day of the week). How much did I spend? $15, good sir. Total savings: $35. I labeled each magazine file with the day of the week and then labeled each folder with the content areas taught each day.

As I plan for each week, I file any papers, station activities, games, books, etc. that I will need for that subject area in the folder for the particular day. The beauty of this system is that all of my supplies are within reach, making transitions smooth and efficient, but if an activity does not get introduced, I simply move the folder to the next day! Easy peasy!

I adore my lesson planning system! It has multiplied my love for planning each week ten-fold! But enough about me - how do you plan? What works for you?


  1. The things from Lakeshore.... they sell them every summer in the $1 section at Target when the school supplies go out. I do the same thing, one for each day of the week! I am going to stock up on them this summer and use them in the library!

  2. Hello-
    I wanted to know if you had your lesson plan template to buy or better yet for free. I just LOVE it.
    Thank you-