I’m one of those weird teachers – you know, the ones who love lesson planning. I love every part of it – analyzing what my student needs, finding new ideas, writing the plans, prepping materials – I love it! I’ve also come up with a number of ways to make lesson planning easier. Since many of you have probably begin to think about your first few weeks of the school year, and the rest of you are probably preparing to do things a little differently in the fall, I want to share some of the things that have been most helpful for me.
The one thing that has been the biggest help is also the most simple tip – I keep a notebook handy AT ALL TIMES. This way, when I notice that there is something my students need to work on, or when a new activity idea pops into my head, I always have somewhere to write it down. Another great way to keep track of this kind of information (especially if you aren’t the type of person who generally keeps notes throughout the day) is to use my teacher reflection checklist. It’s FREE and you can print out as many as you need!
Tip number two seems like a no brainer – I use Pinterest. But I promise there is more to this tip than that. I’m very strategic about how I use Pinterest. I’ve organized my boards so that there is one for each subject or domain included on my lesson plan. This way, when I’m pinning I can save new ideas based on domain, and then when I’m planning it is easy to find the idea that I’m looking for. If you want a detailed explanation of how I’ve organized my boards, check out this post!
My final tip is to keep favorite recipes close so that when I put them on my lesson plan I don’t have to look up the recipe every time. This is especially true for when I make things like play dough, flubber, and different types of paints. Since I use these recipes so often, and modify them for different holidays and seasons, I put together a recipe book to keep in the classroom. This helps me make sure that I have all the supplies I need before I get started. It also helps when I can’t think of something to add to my lesson plan, I just flip through the book and decide how I want to modify a recipe for whatever topic we’re currently working on!
I often find that my lesson planning template isn’t supporting my class’ needs. When that happens I change things up – your lesson plan should be HELPFUL! If you’re feeling like a new template might make a difference for you, then here are some free ones to explore.
I hope that my tips help you gear up for fall lesson planning. If you really want to make things easier on yourself, make sure to take a look at my lesson plan for the first week of preschool and add some of those activities to your own!