Happy Sunday, everyone! I woke up today knowing exactly what I wanted (slash needed) to write about because in a few hours I’ll need to be taking my own advice.
So, today’s all about 3 lesson planning tips I swear by that have helped knock down my hours of planning and formatting dramatically. Goodbye working on the weekends and late into the work week.
Full transparency though: Although I have an idea in my mind of what I want my whole week in the classroom to look like, I do not create materials for more than 1-2 days out. I tried that for years and it ended up being me chained to my computer at home, dying. It works for some, but I’m not one of them.
Let’s get into it!
Tip #1: Create the presentation before you create the student materials.
If you use PowerPoint or Prezi or any other kind of presentation software in your classroom, developing your lesson progression there rather than in Word or flipping through pages of a workbook is something I highly recommend.
Creating the presentation helps visualize the flow of a class period, what I want my students to be doing, what I want myself to be doing, etc. I can literally see a movie reel in my mind: which students will want to be pushed further at certain points? Which students will benefit from partner support? I can quickly jot notes at the bottom of a slide and implement those ideas later when I make student materials.
Not sure what your Do Now is going to be yet? Totally fine! Create the slide, title it, then move on. You want your kids to write something creative but you’re not sure what about yet? Also totally fine! The act of just making the slide often jump starts the content creation.
Tip #2: Start with something you did in the previous class.
Anyone else out there spend so long sweating about how to make an awesome Do Now (or bell ringer)? Designing the first 15 minutes of my class period used to take me forever. It had to be engaging, exciting, challenging (but not too challenging that students shut down), standards-aligned, and pretty. Every day.
My time-saving tip is to restate the exit ticket question or a few questions from the previous lesson in the Do Now. I’m not in the camp of believing that every starting activity needs to introduce something new. In fact, my strongest first 15 minutes of any class are almost always when the Do Now is some kind of review, even with my most challenging classes.
Nerdy idea: Award points for students who use their resources during a Do Now.
Because isn’t half of the Sunday Scaries caused by worrying about classroom management and engagement?
Tip #3: Stop using Word for student materials.
I got this idea from Write on with Miss G (@writeonwithmissg) and it changed my teacher life.
I dropped Microsoft Word completely and now format all my student materials in PowerPoint. It’s time-saving because I’m not creating and re-creating formatting and I can fit more info on a page for kids. I know you can do a simple “save as” in Word, but something about clicking “duplicate slide” and then changing only what you need to feels faster. Maybe I’m crazy, but try it!
Plus, my students yearn for consistency, and keeping the formatting similar or identical each day helps them know what to expect and what to do, especially when they struggle. Amen to fewer class disruptions of “I don’t get this!”
Thank you so much for reading! Subscribe today to join the fun and get updates on all things Cobble & Brick! As always, I hope you come say hi over at @cobbleandbrick on Insta! See you there 🙂