My first principal gave me a very large lesson plan book. It had lots of space to write in my plans for each hour of each day, and most of my teacher friends were always rushing to get theirs written down. However, being a techie, I asked if I could design my own lesson plan format on my computer. After receiving approval, I decided to use Adobe PageMaker (which is no longer available) because I had been using it since 1987.
When the new school year began, I simply opened up the old file (LessonPlans8788), renamed it (LessonPlans8889) and started tweaking the lesson plans. As I created new lessons or dropped old ones, it was easy to change the line-up on my digital lesson plans. If the resource teacher needed a copy of what we were doing in class, it was simple to print another copy for her.
When we adopted the new Houghton-Mifflin Language Arts curriculum in the early 2000s, it came with a CD that had lesson plans loaded on it. I decided to spend a day copying and pasting those plans into my PageMaker file. Then I added the weekly band schedule on one side of my lessons, and morning procedures on the other. The addition of page numbers and standards made my plans almost substitute teacher ready.
Though Adobe no longer makes PageMaker, you can still create your own lesson plan template using MicrosoftWord, Apple’s Pages, Quark XPress, or most word processing/layout programs. It is time-consuming in the beginning, but I no longer have to reinvent the lesson plans every year in a big, blank book. I can spend my time with more important things, like making the lessons better to ensure student success.