Thursday, February 23, 2017

How I Organized My Student Teaching Lesson Plan Binder

I've mentioned this before but I definitely do not want Prep In Your Step to become a teaching blog. This blog has always served as a creative outlet for me and with teaching on the horizon it is my hope that it remains that way. With that said, a number of y'all have been asking for some posts that incorporate a bit of my experience or ideas when it comes to teaching which I think is fair. If I've learned anything from the education department at my school or student teaching so far it is that as a student teacher there is just no way to do it alone. Planning can be overwhelming and each day is so different that you never fully feel prepared. Since that is the case I figured that if I could help ease someone else's experience in any way then I definitely would like to.

Furman sets the standards for us very high so if you are student teaching then you may not be required to have the same sort of things for your supervisor when they visit. I thought it would be fun to share a look at my lesson planning binder with y'all since the organizational aspect of this was something that my friends and I struggled with. I have finally found a method that works for me and am aware that my method is very different than some other people's. It is all about finding what works for you that also works for your program and your cooperating teacher so don't be too worried if it changes around over time (mine already has a little bit).

I am a very visual person so when I started out and organized my lesson plans by week it completely threw me off. I felt like I was always searching for something and didn't feel all that prepared even though everything was right there for me. I eventually decided that organizing my lesson plans by days would be helpful. Furman makes us re-write our teachers' plans into their specific template so each of my lesson plans is typically between two and three pages. I place them behind one of the dividers (labeled A-Z but I have 2 sets) in order of when I teach them. So for us, math is first thing in the morning so that is the first plan I see followed by science, social studies, writing, and reading. The dividers I have at the back (labeled 1-12) have the teachers plans for the week. The teachers at my school all pretty much fit their weeks plans onto one sheet of paper so that is nice to reference when I am just trying to review for the day. 

At the beginning of my binder I made a calendar that outlines when I am teaching various subjects. This is helpful for both myself and my supervisor since we are encouraged to ease into our experience. I also have a course assignment due date chart that I made as well as other resources from readings I've done that I would like to implement into my own classroom some day. Another helpful sheet that I made was a brief run down of my students' learning styles and any medical issues they may have. This is great to reference when I am planning lessons to ensure that I am reaching all students learning modems! 

After I have taught a lesson I like to put a post-it note directly on it of what went well, what didn't, or anything I'd change for the next time I teach it. I also include information about timing or changes I'd make to specific resources that go along with it. I know this will be helpful to look back at in the future so it is worth taking a minute or two at the end of the day to do. 

After each subjects' lesson plan I like to include any resources we are using. I print out powerpoint to have on hand, student note sheets, observational notes I've taken, and even answer keys just so they are all in one place. This is really nice when I am reading over my plans and making sure that everything is ready for the week ahead since I am so visual when it comes to things. 

So there you have it, a quick but seemingly thorough glance at how I have my binder organized thus far. If there are any teachers out there reading this who have any tips at all please do not hesitate to share. Collaboration is crucial to teaching and I have definitely felt overwhelmed by everything at times so I would love to hear your insight!


  1. You're so organised! I wish I was half as organised as you when I was in university.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. The binder is truly a work of art. You should consider selling your lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers.

  3. Great idea! Organization is so important for a teacher. The binder will be useful to you in the future. As a teacher, I often find myself looking back on my previous plans and notes when planning for my current year.

  4. Thank you so much for doing this! I'm starting student teaching in the fall and, as an organized person, I really wanted to find the best method that would help me be just that. Absolutely love this format. Best of luck with the rest of your teaching practicum!

  5. I love checking out your different organizing systems, but may I suggest that you refrain from publicly posting anything that shows your students' names (even just first names), especially with assignment information/results? Your professors/teachers may not know about your blog now, but I suspect they would have the same advice.

  6. Love this post, Dorothy! I'm a high school senior wanting to major in elementary education so this makes me so excited for college and student teaching!


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