The "new" lesson plan book

Lesson plan book – is it too early to begin setting up my lesson plan book for the new school year? Is it, maybe, a bit neurotic to get going on this in the first week of July, with two months to go? NO!  I think most teachers would agree that their lesson plan book is pretty much attached to them once school begins – there is so much to do, and so little time, that having that week by week self- created guide/to do list/reminder book is key to maintaining some semblance of sanity and calm. I guess my motto is: Keep Calm & Carry Lesson Plan Book!
Here is my trusty old planbook – I’ve had the same kind for the last 9 years:
I love the fact that the page opens out to make equal room for the three subjects I teach: Language Arts, Writing Workshop and Social Studies.  And that I can scribble on notes, attach charts, and tack on post its as reminders, memos to self, and so on.  I know lots of colleagues who type up their lesson plans in color coded splendor, but I prefer using a pencil I need to sharpen every now and then, and a highlighter to mark essential questions.  I like being able to write, erase when needed, re-write – it allows me to think through my week and feel clear about what lies ahead.  
But, times do change.  Next year, we have a new evaluation system, and we are expected to turn in all projects, handouts, and assessments along with our lesson plans every two weeks.  The old-fashioned spiral lesson plan book was going to have to go…
I could adapt the old to the new. Which is what I did.  I purchased a brand new 1 1/2 inch binder – something strong that would last the year.  This was a lot of fun to choose and personalize, for some reason, and I enjoyed the process more than I  thought I would:.   

Since I really loved the old fold-out three subject page format, I simply removed these from a new plan book and 3-hole punched them to fit within the new binder. Presto – new binder, trusty old page format.  For some reason, this idea came upon me late one night, and also made me extraordinarily happy:

I have one section set aside for my heavily annotated copy of the Common Core State Standards.  I have notes from many a session at TC scribbled exactly where I need them, so why print ourt a brand new copy and start all over again?!

I set aside a section for my “yearly plan” – my month-by-month plan for units in my subject areas.  For a time, I leave in last year’s section as well, just to refer to and fine tune.  A lot of hard work went into that plan, even though I will move things around to suit a new group of students and a brand new school year.

I left sections open for my gradebook, and for the projects/assessments/handouts that I’m expected to turn in:

So, there you go…a new lesson plan book for a new school year: something old, something new, something borrowed (from last year) ….but nothing blue? I guess I should have thought of that when I purchased that binder, but I find red is just a much more cheerful, positive color – just what I need to keep beside me through the new school year.
I’d love to know how others set up their planbooks!


9 thoughts on “The "new" lesson plan book

  1. Lesson planning is so personal. I love how you have pulled from the all the BEST and created your own. I do my digitally and then draw arrows and move everything around. I love the idea of the notebook with CC all intertwined because right now I am living on line but that is not personal. Something to think about….as always. PS. Never too early to begin thinking about LP organization after all we somewhere to hold all of our summer thinking.

  2. Thank you for sharing your lesson plan book through pictures…so easy to follow and imagine! In my common core section, I always put a common core checklist which you can find already created at Teachers Pay Teachers.. is the link to the sixth grade one. At the end of the day I would tally all the standards I covered…after I taught to see where our thoughts danced. That also was a good way to check that I did accomplish what I was aiming for or if the students needed to go another directions. It is amazing how much we dance when teaching. Hope others share their lesson plan books too! πŸ™‚ I am with you…nothing beats a pencil and highlighter!

  3. There is something about having the right supplies that makes the job not just easier, but also…FUN! I just started giving my lesson plan book thought this week, too. After years of making my own, I designed a lesson plan book that I convinced my favorite notebook maker to make into notebook format. That has worked okay for a few years, but I am always searching for the perfect fit. Thanks for sharing the visuals–it is always fun to get a peek into someone else's thinking process.

  4. I think you are way ahead of me in the digital world, Maria – some day, I will catch up! The big drawback to my way of doing things is what happens if the book is misplaced? So, going digital is just smarter…and I'll get there, eventually!

  5. Wow…a notebook maker who will design to your specs! That's wonderful, Christy. And, thank you for supporting my need for the right supplies – I do have fun picking and choosing these, and using them, too!

  6. This is what we do Tara! πŸ™‚ This week I started working on my lesson plan book, too. Though I go back to school at the end of this month. Last year I went digital but missed the personal tactile touch of paper. This year I am going back to a notebook. I love to go to the the site where (though a little pricey) you can design a Avery 3 ring notebook from many designs, fonts, etc. Thanks for sharing the joy in finding a plan book that is just right for you. Happy planning.

  7. Digital is not always better I do feel confined by the spacing. One of the main reasons I use it is so I can email my plans for all my special needs students. Helps them with support. I am still thinking about how to have everything in one spot though.

  8. Loved seeing your process and hearing all of the thinking behind your choices!Now you've got ME thinking!! Tomorrow I'll find out exactly what I'll be teaching, so I'll move on from there with this year's iteration of The Plan Book.

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