Lesson Planning by the Day, Week, Month and Year

Let’s talk about lesson planning. There are all kinds of ways to do it: by the day, week, month or year. 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:

By the Day

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 (download for free).

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.

Finally, on super important days (like the first), I enjoy detailed visual plans for myself.

Week by Week

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 so I can have quick access for printing at school.

I realize this is not realistic for everyone and most people have to write out their plans with standards, ect. But, you can use this weekly editable template and make them to fit you needs. Find it here.
I have also written things out on 1 page by subject instead of time.
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.

Monthly Overview

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 like I did for January in this blog post.

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 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.

Year at a Glance

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.

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!

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