Last summer I did a weeklong series on lesson planning. I recommend that you check that out. Today’s post is going to focus on managing, storing and organizing the papers and materials you use when you sit down to write your plans.
When I draft my plans I use the following resources:
my computer / internet
thematic resources I’ve accumulated
Common Core Materials and Standards
plans from previous years
While I do a lot of my planning at home, I also spend time collaborating with my teaching partner. For this reason it was important to develop a system to make sure I had everything I needed at the ready.
The most efficient way to accomplish this was to go digital. Since I use my computer to type up my plans it made sense to make that my number one tool for lesson planning. In place of the paper pacing guide and Common Core Standards book, I have a copy saved to my computer.
Because I write my daily plans on the computer I can quickly review my plans from the previous years.
I’ve also spent a lot of time over the years converting all of those binders of ideas into thematic packets that are stored on my computer. Most needed updating anyhow. As I plan new units I do so completely electronically.
In addition to the resources that live in my computer, I have a small tote that I use for lesson planning purposes. I keep the current teacher manual for math and language arts inside as well as Post-Its, markers, my planning templates (I first write them down when planning with my partner before typing them up), a to do list for items that need to be prepped and gathered, and a folder for copies that need to be made.
While I use a basket for my teacher resources that go with my current units and learning concept, it is also important to develop a storage system for the manuals you are not currently using. Some teachers find it best to designate a shelf to each subject.
Others like to stand the books on end in a filing cabinet with like subjects clustered together.
I have a copy paper boxes that I covered with paper to match my classroom. There is a box for math, science/social studies, word study, and reading. I keep all of the district-issued manuals and materials in these boxes along with my personal resources. I like this system because everything is organized and easy to find. Also, if I moved grade levels or schools it would be quite simple to remove my personal items and have everything ready for the teacher who would be taking over my classroom.
In the past I used large plastic drawers. I dedicated a drawer to each subject area. I didn’t care for this system for a few reasons. The drawers took up too much of a footprint in the classroom. The size and shape of the drawers required me to stack the books on top of each other which made it harder to access what I needed. My new system using boxes allows me to stand the books on their side so I can read the titles on the side and add and remove books quickly.
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