Lesson Plan Organization


This week’s theme is Lesson Organization.   It’s not too late!  Submit you post for this week. 

My lesson plan organization needs help!  Many years ago, I kept all of my lessons in a giant 3-ring binder.  But, I couldn’t keep up with it, and I really hate all of that hole punching.  I then kept a file folder for each lesson, but that was too many file folders.  Now, I keep everything from one chapter / unit in one file folder, but it’s all jumbled up.  I’m always looking for a certain sheet to make copies of or a homework key.  I would love to have it all in order in this file folder.  Is this possible?  Basically, I would love to have a better system, but it needs to be low maintenance.  Please help if you have a great idea!  Blog about your awesome system or just throw some help in the comments.  THANK YOU in advance!  And thanks to Beth and Mary for blogging this week.

24 thoughts on “Lesson Plan Organization

  1. I use a binder – but I put everything in sheet protectors – #1) papers don’t get messed up, #2 no hole punching, #3 I can put labels or extra copies in the sheet protectors so I know what’s there and they don’t get jumbled up!

    • Do you have multiple binders? My binder got HUGE. I need to take home one unit or chapter at a time so I can work on it as I work mostly at soccer practice. I love the page protector idea! I could maybe even use those in a file folder to group things?

      • I have the same system as Denise, but I usually have more than one binder for a class (between 1&3 units, depending on if it’s Science or Math) – allows me to take home manageable amounts of paper. Like Katrina, I also put extra resources/resources I didn’t use that year at the back behind a divider, and then re-visit them when I’m planning in following years. If I don’t use something often enough it gets recycled!

      • Right now each chapter is huge so I’d have to have a binder per chapter if I go that way. I need to pare down / recycle things I didn’t use. I just hate that though bc I am always changing it up and may come back. More binders? lol!

  2. Scan in all and keep it in folders and subfolders in your computer. Or better yet, in Dropbox, so you can access it anywhere. I even have my smartphone mapped to my printer, so I can print wirelessly directly from my device to the printer or copier.

    • Yes, I use Dropbox (and more recently Google Drive). I cannot get my iPhone to print to anything. 😦 Also, what do you do with test keys and hw keys that you write on? I have the most trouble with things that are NOT on my computer.

  3. I love the binder system but agree the hole punching is over the top. I use the plastic sleeves so there is no hole punching. I put things in order as I use them and the extra resources that I have but didn’t use that year I put in the back behind a tab labeled Extra Resources.

    • OH! I LOVE putting the resources that I didn’t use at the back. I’m starting that tomorrow! I’m so glad I asked you all at the beginning of the year so I could fix things now! 🙂 I’m so bad at organizational ideas!

  4. I have a couple of binders per class (pre-algebra, pre-algebra honors, algebra) with dividers by week. So week 1, week 2, etc. I have all work, quizzes, tests, keys, in it. But now that il trying to more stuff like Fawn, I’m making a new binder! It’s not as organized though yet.

    • I really like the dividers by week! I never thought of that. And yes, I’m making a binder for problem solving too. I print out the copies and then my hand written solutions as I solve it in as many ways as possible and don’t want to forget the different ways from year to year.

  5. I used to have one binder per quarter with sheet protectors of all my lesson plans/worksheets/keys, but I found that I just didn’t go back into them as often as I’d look for things on my computer.

    We get $100/yr to spend on anything to improve our teaching (books, posters, technology, etc.) and a couple years ago I bought a little document scanner. IT SAVED MY LIFE. It’s about 2″ wide and 10″ long and sits right next to my computer. Now, anytime I have a key or paper worksheet, I can scan it right onto my computer in seconds and google drive lets me access it anywhere. Better yet, if my kids want a copy of a quiz review, I can scan it and post on my website in less than a minute.

    It’s absolutely my favorite thing in my classroom, I’m now almost paperless (other than student papers) and I never lose anything…ever. It was maybe $30?

  6. Forgot one more reason its amazing…I’m also a math coach in our state and I can simply share my folder or certain items in my folder with anyone and they can see everything I’m doing. This has been really great as I mentor some brand new teachers. They can look in my folder and get an idea of what I’m doing at any moment. I can also share with one of my teacher friends on the other side of the country just as easily as when he was in the next room.

  7. Sorry! I’m just so excited about scanning things!

    It also came in handy last year when we were hit by a tornado. Other teachers lost decades of worksheets and lesson plans. I didn’t skip a beat. I was able to teach that very day even without a roof on the school. Try that with binders!

    • I used to use one large binder (or two) for the whole year but that was a bit overwhelming. When I moved to a new school, I took on a system my colleague uses. We have one 1 inch binder per chapter and then within that chapter, little sticky tabs to mark each section. It seems pretty obvious, but I really have liked this system. Within each section I have a hard copy of notes, homework sheet, activities. Tests and quizzes I keep at the front of the binder. It’s easy to make copies for this binder and also easy to just see what I have year to year. I also organize my files on the computer in this same system so it is easy to find if need be. Since our math curriculum pretty much goes chapter to chapter, I have found this method convenient and easy to organize. I don’t mind the hole punching either:)

    • What scanner do you use….I would like to scan all my notes, worksheets per unit/topic……and get rid of boxes and boxes of files. How expensive is your scanner…what about ease of use??…..Please email me….I’m anxious to get started!!

      • Hi Mary Jo,

        I don’t have a scanner. I’m sorry. When I worked at a big school, the copier there would turn everything into a pdf and email it to me. That was awesome! But now I’m at a smaller school and do not have that ability. I heard about a teacher that uses a small USB scanner that she runs all of her papers through at my last conference. This was especially useful for her handwritten answer keys. It is something that I would like to try! Thanks for the reminder.

  8. So I mentioned above that I use camscan on my phone … a free app … scans just fine! So our PLC organizes everything online, 1 folder per unit, and in each unit folder there is an assessment folder as well as daily folders. In the daily folders are everything you might need for that day. I upload those folders into my Google Drive since the school folders are on a protected network … can’t reach them from home. I love the camscan – I capture keys, student work, notes I give and upload those to Google Drive as well … and share them with students on my website.

  9. Another vote for camscanner for that random written stuff (student work, etc.) that you want right away. I like it better than just taking a picture, it gives me a PDF instead. I set it up so that the camscanner folder automatically syncs so I don’t have to then email it to myself. I use sugarsync for my online “cloud” but I’m sure dropbox could probably sync that folder as well.

    Would really want to know the scanner model Stacey mentioned. Luckily our school copy machines also scan (even in color!). It sends a PDF of what you scanned to you in an email but I would love to have something in my room. I use that for my keys etc.

  10. I am really bad at stacking things on my desk. I’ve tried the file folders and notebooks for chapters, quarters, and yearlong. It just didn’t work for me. Organization is not a strong point of mine. Several years ago, I bought 4 of those plastic 3 drawer organizers from Wal-Mart and labeled each drawer with my unit names. Now instead of stacking things, I can throw the pages into the drawer that it belongs in. It is a lot less effort and better than stacks on my desk. But I can definitely go find things better when I need them. I can also throw file folders with extra runoff pages in there too for the next year. It will also hold small manipulatives like index card bundles so I can locate them quicker by the unit. I do have a 3 ring binder in each drawer to organize things when I get a chance. However, it doesn’t always get into the notebook. At least it is in the same drawer and easy to lay my hands on. It seems to work well for me.

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