Thursday, June 21, 2012

Creating A Lesson Plan Book

Good morning everyone! :)

Today's topic (as you can tell from the title) is Creating a Lesson Plan Book.  I am going to share what I used, some great ideas I've found and some things I've found didn't work for me.  At the end of the post, I will share my lesson plan binder pages & cover with you! :)  Keep in mind that a Lesson Plan Book is a personal choice.  Some teachers prefer to use a traditional plan book, while some like to use the computer.  Choose what works best for you.

What DIDN'T work for me:
I really didn't care for the traditional planning book that you would get from a teacher's store.  The thing that was a pain about it was that you spent about 10 minutes just filling in your class titles at the top of the pages for the week and filling in any Specials information.  To me, this was a waste of my time.  Also, the boxes were so small, I didn't have as much room as I wanted to fill in my lesson notes.

What DID work for me:
A colleague of mine, Mrs. Comer, shared her lesson plan template with me.  It uses one page for each day.  You can customize it however you want to!  In the document below, you will be able to have Monday-Friday's schedule already pre-printed with your specials information, etc.  And there is plenty of room for lesson notes.

I simply printed out a quarter's worth (9 weeks) of weekly lesson plan pages at a time.  I would 3-hole punch them, and then I would put them into a binder.  The Lesson Plan binder I kept contained 3 sections:  my year long plan, my weekly lesson plans, and a month by month calendar.  This year I plan to add a Common Core Checklist section to my lesson plan book, instead of having them kept in a separate place.

I personally like writing out my lesson plans.  I feel like I spend enough time on the computer as is! :) However, I am considering either typing my lesson plans this year, or using an online software.

TIP:  Buy an inexpensive cookbook holder (I had one I never used at home) and prop your lesson plan binder up on that bad boy.  It keeps it easy for you to see, gives you your desk work space back, and keeps it up off of your desk where stuff could get piled on it.  That was the best way I found to keep my lesson plan book accessible.

I really liked THIS idea from Pinterest.  The original website is a scrapbooking website and their idea is to use the paper towel holder and plastic binder pages and rings for organizing your scrapbook stickers.  Someone suggested keeping your lesson plans in the pages instead.  I thought that was a good idea...just not sure if it would rotate around too much- but I wanted to share the idea in case someone out there might be able to use it.

Ok... I will sing the praises of Pinterest... It is by far one of my most favorite websites.  I used to do a Google Image Search for things I wanted, and Pinterest is like that, except better! :) I always find great ideas on Pinterest!   If you do a general search with the words "lesson plan," tons of ideas and different templates will come up.  Check them out if you haven't seen anything here that fits you and your classroom! :)

Purchasing Lesson Plan Pages:
If you don't mind paying a few dollars for your lesson plan templates, I would suggest checking out Ms. M's Blog.  She has lots of great ideas and tons of lesson plan templates.  Check out her blog HERE.  The one I want is the month calendar called Calypso Calendar.  I made a monthly calendar myself, but hers is way cuter! :)  I am sure that if you go to the Teachers Pay Teachers website you would also be able to find lesson plan templates to download for free and to purchase.

Online Lesson Planning:
Something I am considering using this year is  It seems like a really neat site where you can plan your lessons online (so you will have access from any computer-even if you forget your lesson plan book at school!).  It is very organized and you can re-use lessons from year to year.  There is a subscription fee of $9.95 for the year.  I feel like that is a nominal fee for a great tool like this.  I've never used it, so I will probably do the 30 day free trial first to make sure I like using it.  Not 100% sure if I will use that site or just my traditional lesson planning pages (below).

UPDATE: (6-29-12)  I totally forgot to post the Lesson Plans Notebook Cover and Spine Label I created for you! Dang it! it is... better late than never I guess! :)

Also, I've found another blogger who's offering FREE Lesson Plan Binder Cover Pages.  They are pretty neat! So check 'em out over at  Just Another Day in First Grade.  You can find another really cute set of binder covers for FREE at  A Year of Many First's Blog.  Click HERE for her free binder covers.

What about you?  What is your favorite way to plan your lessons?  Have any freebies to share with your fellow online teacher friends? :)

Tune in tomorrow when I will be sharing my Strategy Grouping Planning Pages with you!

Wishing you the best today,