Words cannot describe how thrilled I am to share my first-ever post on Elementary Entourage! For those of you who don’t know me, I am Laura Santos from Core Inspiration. I currently teach second grade in California but have also taught third and fourth grade during my seven years in the classroom. Today, I am going to give you a peek into my ever-evolving lesson planning style.
For this first year ever, I am using a digital lesson plan book. I have tried so hard to take the leap to paperless planning for many years but always reverted back to a trusty paper plan book before the first day of school arrived. I am all about being eco-friendly and having remote access to my classroom, neither of which are supported by a paper plan book that never makes it past my classroom door.
This summer, I sat down an analyzed what was causing my paperless planning anxiety. I quickly realized that I had yet to find a format that truly fit my needs, so I decided it was time to design my own digital plan book.
To create this paperless plan book, I simply added a table to Google Slides, inserted the days of the week, added the most consistent time blocks in my classroom schedule, and started filling in my plans. I also added a little flair to help with my withdrawals from colorful pens and washi tape. If you would like to use my Google Slides plan book as a starting point for your own digital plan book, you can grab it here for free.
My weekly lesson plans are guided by the long-term plan my team and I design at the end of each school year. Compared to my experience with planning during the summer, I find this end-of-year planning session results in more detailed and strategic decisions (without the side effect of summer brain invading our planning mojo). This session guides the creation of standards-based, cross curricular units that make our teaching more powerful and efficient.
Our year-long “Master Plan” makes weekly lesson planning quick and easy because I simply research the specific lessons to support the topics and units we are teaching that week. This frees up a lot of brainpower for creating enrichment activities for my advanced learners and curating reteaching materials for students that need extra support. If I’m lucky, I may even have an extra hour to gather my materials for the whole week and be uber-organized for a few minutes.
One last feature I love about my personalized digital plan book is the “Master Mind” page. The three columns on this page are a lifesaver.
Each time something does not go as perfectly as planned, I take note of it in the “Revise For Next Year” column to save my future self a little sanity. Anytime something happens that makes me feel like I’m floating on teacher cloud 9, I make a quick note of it in my “Remember for Next Year” column. The “Do Now” column is filled with notes I copied from my “Remember For Next Year” and “Revise for Next Year Columns” from last year’s paper planner – so far my advice to myself is really paying off.
Today was our sixth day of school and I have not jumped the paperless planning ship yet…I may have finally converted! Would love to hear about your paperless planning struggles and victories in the comments below. Want a peek at some of my other organization tips? Swing by Core Inspiration for more.