Plan-uary: 4 Ways I Lesson Plan

Reflecting and planning are two of my favorites (besides actual teaching) about being a teacher. I don't know about you but I am pretty much always thinking about my plans for school.
The planning truly never stops.

So what's the best way to plan?

No, seriously.

I am asking.  Because I can't ever decide. Which leads me to the reason why I plan in many different ways.  Sometimes simultaneously. {sometimes not at all}

Truth is, I love to plan but I have NO planner! Here are some resources I use instead:

At the beginning of the year, I was serious. (This was still in those luxurious summer days I can only dream of right now). I broke down each section of my day and outlined in further detail what it would look like.

I am proud to say I pretty much have held true to this schedule! Woohoo. Go me! *pats self on back*

Despite my daily breakdown and weekly plans, most days I still have to make a list of what I am going to do. So, I jot a quick list.

Sometimes you gotta get all fancy.  Like when the big wigs come to visit.  This type of planning reminds me of what we had to do in college (Oh, the good old days!). These days I use this format for formal observations. 

This is our most obvious form of planning since most teachers have to submit plans weekly to their administration.  It is clearly important to have a vision for each day and how they will connect.
My favorite way to plan for the week is through visual plans. However, they are time consuming and not typically admin-friendly. I personally get the most use out of them because everything I need to copy is linked.  These weekly plans help me to know WHAT I am teaching not necessarily HOW I will teach it. I make these in PowerPoint by copying and pasting thumbnails of products I will use.  Then I hyperlink to the resource. I do not print these out typically. 

I realize this is not realistic for everyone and most people have to write out their plans with standards, ect. I have actually turned in planes like the ones above with plans like the ones below.

You can download a weekly template for free here:

Sometimes a quick to do list does the trick as an added layer or for a short week or if you don't have to hand in detailed plans.
"To-Do" List Template for Teachers

I really love this simple (and free!) to do list from Joy in the Journey

In order to plan for the month, I do two things.

1. Look at the major topics I will be teaching and what resources I have for those topics.

and 2: Write a monthly newsletter to parents about what we will be doing. Okay so I get this isn't technically planning but it is looking ahead so I count it. You can find the templates for these here.

Beyond that, I don't thoroughly plan for the month.  Most of my weekly plans get dumped over to the next day and week anyway so I think planning out a month and trying to stick to it would just be too overwhelming for me.

Finally, looking at the whole year is extremely necessary and helpful.  It gives us a better understanding of how much time we should be spending on each topic/skill (although there should always be flexibility) and also shows us an idea of the end game.  All the other ways of planning are a means to reaching that end goal.

Here's a look at one of the pages in my 2nd grade Math pacing guide.  ELA is not done yet but will be added soon! This is actually good news because you can buy it now for less!
Check it out here: ELA and Math pacing guides

What's your favorite way to plan? Planning tool?

Regardless of all the planning, a real teacher knows the best moments in the classroom were never in the plans.  Often, it is when the students are teaching us. #sappyclichemoment

Happy teaching!


First Week after Break Plans

It's my last day of break.  Excuse me while I cry a little.

This time of year can be exciting.  And also maybe a little depressing.  Our school doesn't have a day off until Presidents' Day and that usually always gets wiped out by a snow day. Spring break isn't until mid April so it is time to put big girl pants on and get ready for a long haul! #fingerscrossedfor2hourdays

I am here to share my plan for this week with you.  Click here or on the pictures to take you to the downloadable version which has CLICKABLE LINKS for each resource. 

In math, I will start teaching time.  I created a fun board game which has differentiated options so I can see where my kiddos are at with their time skills.  

We will also use Judy clocks and hula hoops as much as possible for hands on practice. 

{source: The Classroom Key}

I like to ease into that first day so I have planned a *free* January glyph by Amanda Garcia.

January Glyph: Back from Winter Break!
Reading and writing will soon be all things informational and nonfiction.  I am so excited to use my updated Polar Bear unit! It felt SO good to have it prepped to go for when I return.

While my plans might look like I am diving right into content, I do plan to ease back into things as much as possible. I will most definitely provide time for my kiddos to share about their breaks during our morning meeting and writing.  We will also practice the basics like walking to the carpet, lining up, walking in the hallway ect.  We will use my January Whole Class Positive Behavior Management Tracker to keep us motivated!

Reading centers will be all about re-building stamina while reviewing routines and expectations.  I will have my students practice each center whole group each day while I start DRA assessments.
For Social Studies, I plan to use my close reading passage whole group.  I love that it includes an Illustrate and Write page for students to share their NYE traditions.  I also wanted to include a fun STEM activity this week.  These are always such morale builders and great for our classroom community.

What will you be teaching this week?

Happy Teaching!