Last week we focused on writing, implementing and assessing your lesson plans. This week – it’s all about closing down the school year! Getting cleaned up, organized, and ready to walk out the doors to the refreshing break of summer. WOOHOO! I don’t know about you, but I’m READY! Some of you are lucky enough to already be on break, or for it to start within the next 7 days or so. Due to snow days and religious holidays, I’m in school until June 22nd (sick, right?), but June still always manages to fly by. So today, we’re going to take a look at how to get your lessons organized and ready for the start of next school year. This way, you can walk back in feeling confident rather than stressed.
First off, why go through the bother of organizing your lesson plans? I know for sure that you would just like to shove them all in a dark drawer some where and leave your buildings skipping with glee. But, I’m here to tell you that if you go through this short process now, you’ll be so thankful when you return this fall. And while the other teachers are running around frazzled that first week back, you will be sitting cool as a cucumber preparing your room and enjoying being back.
I have several ways that I like to organize my lesson plans. Like you, I have some that are digital and saved to my computer and some that I’ve printed out for easy access. Let’s start with the easier ones first: digital lesson plans. These are wonderful because you can access them everywhere, they are “no mess” and they’re great for the environment. At some point, I’d like to think that all of my lesson plans will be this way, but I have a feeling that I’m still going to want to have some in my hands – there’s just something about paper. Here’s my process for digital file cleanup:
1.) Group your lesson plans by grade/subject. I teach K-5, so I group by grade. However, I know most classroom teachers will group by subject or by class. The point is to have a consistent and clear grouping system. Create a file folder for each of these groups on your desktop:
2.) Within these files, create subfolders by topic. Use the same process as before, but place each subfolder within the larger grouping folder:
3.) Within each subfolder, include your lesson plans, assessments, and other essentials that you’ll need for that unit/topic.
4.) Create one last folder on your desktop: Lesson Plans/Assessments. Place all of your previous folders into this large one (which is like your filing cabinet). There you have it – you’re done!
Written Lesson Plans
For written lesson plans, I follow the exact same process. Except that instead of a digital file folder, I keep a large binder (3-4″) that I section off by grade level. Within each of these grade level sections, I place each unit in sequential order. Each unit includes my lesson plan, my lesson plan assessment, my student assessment, and a grade sheet (to remind myself to do grades right away, as well as to keep a real pulse on where my student are within their learning). I then keep my binder on my desk at all times for easy access.
Do YOU have any specific ways that you organize your lessons for the year? Please share with us!
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.