Today, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite classroom organizer tools: the Classroom Overview sheet.
You know, one of the most searched for items that we receive here is “classroom organization”. So apparently, many people are looking for ways to help arrange their content, classrooms, and information in a practical and efficient process. I think this “Good to Great” classroom overview definitely hits the sweet spot!
Think of this overview as your one-stop-shop for your lessons, or even your day. You can use this as a way to quickly see what is coming up, inquiry topics, resources you’ll need, and an overview of your lesson. You can also use this as a resource for substitutes. In fact, I used this every day for my own planning and just left that sheet on my desk. Then, if I had to get a substitute unexpectedly, they had the day’s outline right there ready for them. So easy!
Ready? Here’s what the organizer looks like:
Let’s break down the document a bit. The first box allows you to draw a diagram of what you want your classroom to look like – you can rearrange the desks in whatever way you’d like for that content or class. The class list below it contains space for a list of each student’s name. To the right is a large post-it note looking area. This is for a brief overview of what your lesson will look like for the day/week. This is NOT detailed. It’s for the bullet points that we all try to keep in our minds as we’re teaching a lesson.
From there, we have a place to list the materials you’ll need or resources/websites that you could access for extensions to this lesson. We then connect that to ideas for differentiation or integration opportunities. I find that just having a place to remind me to think about those areas makes my lessons a richer experience.
The Elegant Problems Inquiry cloud provides a space for you or your students to pose questions about the task to help focus your lesson and teach the appropriate skills. And at the very bottom is a place to update the current projects you have running in regards to this lesson, ways you are planning on (or are currently in the middle of) assessing, and note or reflections for yourself as you move through the lesson with your students.
I find this organizer has everything I need in one neat space for a great lesson. No more packets for lessons – this boils it all down into what I need to know when I need to know it and sequences the lesson beautifully. It’s my hope that this organizer helps you as much as it’s helped me!
Susan Riley is the founder and President 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 Arts and the Common Core.
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.