My Story

When I was a first year teacher, feels like so long ago, I was completely lost when it came to putting my lessons on paper. Sure I had already worked in a school & with kids for years. I felt completely comfortable in front of a class, & had every inch of my lessons planned in my head but my paper lesson plans??? Well, lets just say if Administration came into my room that first month & asked to see my plan book, I might not still be teaching today.

You know those big plan books, with the boxes? They never worked for me... I tried but I just always felt like I wanted some parameters. Nothing against those teachers who used them but I was always frustrated. I also tried those LONG, lesson plan formats that they make you do when your getting your degree. They were too time consuming & I was not happy about doing one of those for each lesson 5 days a week. I was a bit lost as to how to document my lessons.

That when it happened, I was sitting at a weekly staff meeting when I looked over & saw another first grade team member filling out an interesting form. I saw a box for Phonics, Reading, & Writing. I asked to take a closer look & sure enough those boxes had a particular routine activities & spaces for the teacher to write in and activity if it were something different. The best part was that in two pages, sitting next to each other, I had a whole of lesson plans. I fell in LOVE with this format right away.

She graciously shared with me & it changed my life. It was to easy to plan after that. I could check off routine activities, if we were working on them that day, & if not I didn't. I could also write in the writing prompt for the day or just page numbers of work pages, anthologies, anything!

The following year we changed reading series & so I got on my computer & made my own, custom lesson plan format. I wrote in what I wanted to cover daily so that I could once again check them off if I was planning on doing that activity. What changed for me was that I MADE MY OWN format. It was not easy at first. I had to learn to navigate using a table on Word & if you've never done it, it can be a pain. The margins were tricky too, but once you had a basic layout it was not that hard. I even get to use change my fonts. What I learned was that I liked doing this. It sounds crazy but I liked it a lot. Don't misunderstand it did take me a while to get it done just right, and I used to walk away from the computer drained & dazed, still do sometimes, but it was not horrible. The best part was that I got EXACTLY what I wanted.

Now at the start of every year I go back & tweak my format to fit my students & my needs. I have even been know to change the format quarterly. It was a bit more complex when I switched from a gen ed first grade teacher to ELL teacher, but I was able to transfer some pieces of my old template, which I liked so much.

I love this way of planning, it's quick and I know that every component of my lesson is there now.