Thriving with Routines - Strategies for Lesson Planning
Feel as if you constantly fall behind on lesson planning? While you'll, of course, have to find a solution that works best for you and your schedule, getting into a lesson planning routine - one that breaks lesson planning up into manageable chunks - is important if you desire a sustainable solution to the stress brought on by procrastination and busyness!
1. Assign a Planning Day for Each Subject Area
- MONDAYS - Reading/Language Arts
- TUESDAYS - Math
- WEDNESDAYS - Science/Social Studies
*Subject area planning also includes weekly centers/rotations where applicable!
We would suggest being able to get the planning stage done by Wednesday - leaving Thursday and Friday free for support tasks (more on that later).
2. Keep a Task Sheet for Each Planning Session
Some like to use a highlighter system on their lesson plans to remember what needs copied, etc, but we highly recommend keeping a separate task sheet to refer to when gathering materials that offers a place for noting what needs copied (and the number of copies), what resources and materials need gathered, tasks to be accomplished (everything from creating a new center to cutting copies apart), etc. The example above also features an "Urgent" box that will allow you to make notes regarding things that need to be looked into/taken care of ASAP - i.e. if you plan to have your library media specialist give your students a tutorial on using the library's extensive online database for their research projects, you'll probably want to work out an appoint as far in advance as possible, etc. The task sheets will make #3 a breeze...
3. Designate a Day to Tackle Your Task Sheets
If you're following the model above, THURSDAYS offer a great opportunity to put your plans into motion - you'll have a buffer day should you need more time to get everything together, but mostly it's nice to have most of your lesson planning done before Friday and the weekend! Copies, cutting, gathering materials, pulling centers from storage - get everything you'll need for the next weeks lessons. Then, between Thursday and Friday, organize it! We highly recommend using a bin system to keep track of all the materials you need each day. Whether you use plastic bins, magazine holders, folders, another organizational tool, or a combination, create a designated spot to put the materials for each day. By Friday, these will be empty and ready for the next weeks lessons. As you leave for the weekend, you can feel good about the fact that, when Monday rolls around, you'll have everything you need at your fingertips!
While there's certainly nothing new about these tips, hopefully they'll inspire you to create a system of your own that you can feel good about and stick with!