Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Create Your Own Lesson Plan Book

I've been teaching Theatre Arts at the middle school level for two years now. I also have a hard time finding a lesson plan book that is cute and functional for me. I find that all the "cute" ones are structured for elementary, and the one that had the best layout for me was brown. That does not accurately represent at Theatre Arts teacher, in my opinion. Instead of spending over $50 on an Erin Condren planner that is beautiful but not completely useful for me, I decided to make my own.

 What you will need:

  • tons of printer paper.  I used watermarked paper that I had left over from printing my graduate thesis.  Thicker than regular printer paper and looks nicer.
  • full ink cartridges. I ran out of ink when I was almost finished.  I also used black and white 97% of the time and saved the color for the covers.
  • MS Word.
  • Pinterest.
  • your favorite calendar template

Before I printed a signal page, I spent a good afternoon working on my documents in MS Word.  I first created my very own weekly lesson plan 2-page spread.  I created a row for each class.  I teach four different sections, so four rows across.  I included a space for TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), Objective/Activity, and Assessment for each day.  I knew I wanted the week to be on a 2-page spread so I could have room to write and it could lay flat on my desk.  I also had room to type the TEKS strands right on the page, as well as room for after school activities and school events for that week.

I printed enough for the entire school year.  You have to babysit the printer and feed the pages in so they print on both sides.  (make sure you leave room on your document for binding in the center).

The next thing I tackled was getting a calendar in the book.  I always get a great 2-page spread academic calendar from my fundraising company, but it wouldn't work with the binding in this book.  So, I scoured the internet for the perfect calendar template and I found one!  Check it out here. This calendar is an Excel file and you can customize for any month, year, font, and type in your dates you already know.

Again, you need to babysit the printer and tell Excel to print one page at a time so you get the correct pages on both sides.  This was the most tedious part.  (Sometimes my printer printed the wrong thing, or it ran out of ink the middle of a job on the nice paper...)

I also included things I found I used and frequently misplaced in the pile of stuff on my desk.  I made a detention record.  I don't assign lunch detention very often, and when I do I usually forget.  So, now I have two pages to record who's going to show up and when, and if they didn't show at all.

Next I created a page for me to record Staff Development/Teacher Choice Hours and my absences for the year. I put this on the back page of my calendar section, and the following page is curriculum at a glance for all four sections.

The last section is 14 pages of blank class rosters.  I used to print them out and have them on clipboard for performances, presentations, and daily grades.  Then I would lose the clipboard.  Now they are in this book!

The cover is something I found on Pinterest, of course.  You can find the covers (and more!) that I used at Teachers Pay Teachers for free!

For the finishing touches, I took my carefully printed and organized stack of papers to FedEx/Kinkos.  I had never used their laminating machine and thought it was thin like the one I use at school so I had them copy my covers on cardstock.  When I used the laminating machine, I realized that the cardstock wasn't necessary.  After laminating the front and back covers, I had them bind it with a coil binding.  They didn't have white, which I preferred, but black is just fine.  It cost $5 for the binding and $2 for lamination.

To recap, here's a Table of Contents of what I included in my personal planner:

  1. Cute front cover with district calendar printed on the other side.
  2. Goals for 2014-2015 (my list of possible plays for the year)
  3. Monthly calendar (2-page spread) August 2014-August 2015
  4. Teacher Choice Hours/Absences
  5. Year-at-a-Glance Curriculum
  6. Weekly lesson plans
  7. 2 pages of Detention Records
  8. Blank Class rosters
  9. Notes for Next Year
  10. Back Cover to match the front
Now that I have all of my documents digitally made, it shouldn't take me as long to make another one for next year.  The best part is I can always add more to it if necessary.  I thought about getting tabs for each section, but I think I'll use colored paper clips and binder clips.  If I need tabs I can always add those later.

Thanks for reading this huge post about my super awesome personal planner!  I can't wait to use it and I hope you can use these tips to make one that works best for you.  Pinterest is a gold mine for lesson plan templates, calendars, and binder covers.  Lots of them are FREE!



J Walker said...

You have inspired me! I know what I'll be working on over the next few days!

Kasey Caroline said...

It did take me a few days... a couple of hours a day! haha! Good luck!