Monday, October 15, 2012

Mail Call Monday- Lesson Plan Writing!

I know, I know.. I have not kept my goal this month! I did make a movie this month, but... I didn't post it on movie Monday (can you tell I am a little OCD sometimes)

You can find it here:
I did do a couple of posts over Smoothboard Duo and EdCampDallas, but life has been a little crazy!
I LOVED helping with EdCampDallas.. and I LOVED volunteering with the 100 year celebration of Girl Scouts they had at the Texas State Fair.  Thanks to @Stuartburt I learned some great things to do with iMovie and made my first trailer showcasing the exhibit.

This Monday is supposed to be Mail Call Monday.  I will usually have a guest blogger, but this week I wanted to share some of my tips for writing lesson plans.  I have had several emails through my facebook page of how I organize lesson plans and staff... so perfect timing to finally post a blog about lesson plans.

At the beginning of each year I always love buying those cute lesson plan books for school.  I love how they feel, I love that they are bound, and I love that they have all those nice squares in them so I can organize however I want to... and then.. I get to school.  For a classroom that maybe has one or 2 grade levels in them, it would probably work.. but in my classroom I have 5 grade levels in them....and it just doesn't work. If you are able to use one of those for your multi-age level classroom.. please SHARE! I would love to know your tricks :)  Our school submits lesson plans online, so that is another reason having one of those is not ideal for me.  

Before I get to much more involved in this post, I have to thank my 2 amazing paraprofessionals who work in my room! I am VERY lucky that Lopez and Avelar are always ready to work with the students and have their interest first.  

I have tried many different ways to organize my lesson plans.  Every year is a little different as every classroom is a little different.  I, however, have found this format to be the easiest.... and am now on my second year of using it!

My lesson plans are 2 pages.  On the top of each page has a broad overview of the whole week.  

There are then 6 columns for each day.
The first column:
Has the day listed.  This is the place that I also put our TEKS that we will be focusing on.  If we have a special event for that day, I will usually write a reminder ie. picture day, library day and so on.

The second column:
Just lists the things I will do whole group or during a morning meeting.   

The third-sixth column:

Is how I divide up for my small groups.  One more reason I LOVE the Unique Curriculum I start each "period" with a mini lesson that focuses on small group.  Such as for Small Group Language for Monday I did a short mini lesson over writing.  I then had my paraprofessionals work on lesson 17 and 14 from the Unique Curriculum.  The Unique curriculum has ideas for level 1, 2 or 3 students.  For the math this day was not completely a Unique lesson, but was one from the general education curriculum.  So for the math "period" I had a mini lesson over months of the year and days of the week.  I then had students do different activities depending on their level (remember.. I have 5 grade levels.. I am there with you!) Once I have taught a mini lesson I take a group of 2-3 back to my table and work on individual IEP's and other curriculum areas.

Last year I had this same type of form, but I had it divided up to be where the third column was me, the fourth column was Lucy (who focused on language) and then fifth column was Lopez (who focused on math)  With students going in and out all day.. this was a much easier and WAY more effective solution!
Want to see a whole lesson plan? Check it out here!

Just wanted to leave you with a few pictures of what it looks like in the end!
My clipboard! It includes lesson plans, day cards, weekly notes and anything else I need on  hand!

Okay, so it is a little cluttered. but it is clean!

I usually plan on Sunday's.  Whatever I plan to do for the week I have it copied and ready to go in the corresponding folder.

Sorry for the super long blog post! How do you plan lessons?  Do you have any tricks? I am TOTALLY digging the ideas from The Autism Helper!


  1. Thanks for giving some samples of your lesson plan that you showed here in your blog. All of these are very helpful for me, for I am currently teaching on preschool. I think that if we will be having a good lesson plan for school then we can easily teach student's in a very simple way.

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  2. Do you still have this lesson plan template, if so can you share your editable version with me. I really like it and I easy to read.

  3. I would love this template if you can share it!

  4. Do you have a yearly plan you align to the UNIQUE curriculum?
    I am trying to lay out lessons for next year to supplement like you do at the top of your lesson plans.