Even though September is still far away, my mind has been on my classroom lately. How can it not be when I am as excited to meet my new students as I am? This is also the first year that I get to go back to block teaching, but this time in 7th grade, rather than elementary. To say my mind is swimming with ideas as I sit by the ocean would be an understatement.
I realized that one of the tools I seem to need every year is a great lesson planner. I have gone through many iterations, none that I truly loved, and yet, as I looked online I felt a little inspired. You see, those beautiful lesson planners for sale are truly gorgeous, but…I need different things than what they offer. I need a place to actually plan the different components of my class, a place to keep student birthdays, a place to put my data in when I have it, and so on.
Rather than purchase one of the very pretty, but perhaps not so needed, teacher lesson planners that I see advertised everywhere, I thought I would just make my own. While it may not be put together for me, I can put this in a binder, add what I need, change the pages I don’t like, and truly make it work for me.
I figure the money I save by making my own I can use on books and scratch and sniff stickers.
So what are the components of my teacher lesson planner this year? Feel free to use as your own, as some of these I have created and some I have merely found online. These are the different tabbed components.
Student Checklist. I use a very easy table that I simply type up every year with the list of student names. Once I have done that, I can use the table for all sort of things throughout the year. It ends up looking something like this.
Year overview calendar. I like being able to see the year at a glance, so I was thrilled to find this school year calendar offered for printing by Vertex 42. There are also many others out there that you can simply print.
Monthly overview calendar. My school functions on a black/orange schedule, and while my day doesn’t change, it helps to know which day it is. I usually print my own school’s monthly calendar but found this option online as well for 2018 and 2019. This is also where I plan to place student birthdays on so I can make sure to celebrate them in style.
Weekly planner. This is the document I am still working on as I continue to tweak my 90-minute schedule. I will write more about this once the year is underway I bet, but for now, this is my working schedule and my weekly plan template.
Data section. This is where I like to keep my rosters, my reading data, and also any IEP, 504, ESL, or health notes.
Standards section. Our standards have been tweaked every year, so I like to keep a printed copy handy rather than have to look it up each time.
Extra section. Every year, I have a few paper copies of things I need to keep handy but they don’t really fit under a theme. That’s where the extra section comes in, use it for notes, for copies, numbers, whatever you need.
All of these sections will be placed in some sort of color binder with some sort of tabs. I know it’s not as much fun as some of the planners I have seen, but you know what, it works for me.