Use This 30 Second Teacher Hack To Organize Your Curriculum
Are you tired of search each week for classroom activities to spice up your boring curriculum? You spent countless hours last year finding amazing resources but now when you go to find them for this year, you can’t recall where or if you kept copies and examples. Use this 30 second teacher hack to organize next years curriculum. Your teacher life just got better.
School Is Starting Soon
The days leading up to the first day of school are quickly approaching. There is a sense of excitement and dismay. While it true that the last days of summer are slipping away, it is also true that something truly amazing will be happening soon. You, your teacher friends, and your students are getting ready for a new school year and all the renewed hope of fresh beginnings, new adventures, fun experiences awaits. There’s nothing quite like it.
Start Planning For Next Year Today
Preparing for each weeks/days lessons is a big job and very time consuming. What if I told you there was an easy way to prep your lessons and materials a year in advance? Cool- Right?
Organizing With Next Year In Mind
Staying organized throughout the year is tricky to say the least. If you are like me the last thing on your priority list during the school day is preparing for the following year. But that’s exactly what you should be thinking of. (but only for about 30 seconds a day). This little trick is going to make your prep, curriculum mapping and life so much better the following year. Here it is.
Tried and Failed- Binders and File Cabnits
Being an educator for 25+ years I have tried lots and lots of ways to organize my lessons, materials, activities etc. Filing cabinets filled to the brim with materials arranged by theme, Totes stuffed full by season and units of study, Binders line my shelves organized by subject area, theme, and skill level. I’ve done them all. I did my best to manage them all but they didn’t work for me. I’m too darn’ random. I’m too into being with my students. I’m too into throwing something into a pile to deal with it later. (and later never, ever, ever….ever comes).
Every Friday I would look at my blank lesson plans and sigh and then instantly be mad because here it was on Friday and I had nothing ready for the next week of instruction. Then I’d start to dig, and dig, and dig down this rabbit hole of ideas, materials, learner goals, curriculum mapping etc. Finding the materials that I’d used in years past was a nightmare. Were they in the file cabinet? Were they in a tote or binder? Uggggggg. I don’t have time for this!!!!
There's Go To Be A Better Way!!!
I needed a plan or else I was going to go bananas. (And I don’t even like bananas) This plan needed to be easy. Easy like just throw it in a pile easy. That’s when I came up with this…
Geee! I Wish I Would Have Thought Of This Earlier!!!
I decided there was no salvation for the present year but what about next year. Wouldn’t it be great to have my entire year organized with examples of printables, games and projects that I used the previous year?
I emptied out a milkcrate tote from the closet, got some file folders, and worked for about 2 minutes. Done!!!! Whaaaaaat. Done? Yep, Done!!!
48 Weeks = 48 Folders
You see I thought if I could just save one or two activities/printables/games etc from each week I’d be saving like 1 hour of prep each week the following year.
So I numbered the file folders from 1 to 48. 48 weeks in a school year. One file folder for each week. I knew I’d need another but not yet.
Using Friday Clean Up To Plan For Next Year in 30 Seconds.
So at the end of each day and on Friday’s I would go around and gather up any copies of printables, art work examples, games, lesson plans, etc. I would get a sticky note and quickly write down any special things that I couldn’t file like guest speakers, group activities, songs, tech resources like apps and websites etc. I put them into the folder and but them into the milk crate file….. 30 seconds… Done!
Better Than Christmas
The next year I had my entire year relatively planned out and I didn’t have to go searching around kingdom come to find everything. I’m telling you it changed my prep time from anger and resentment to discovery and joy. Every week I’d pull out the file from the year before and open it up. It was better than Christmas. I can’t tell you how many times I’d say to myself, “Ohhh, yeahhh. I totally forgot about this activity/game etc. I so excited to try it with this group.”
Evaluating Material For New Groups of Students
Now full disclosure. Did this totally eliminate my need to make a game or find new materials. Nope, that’s one of the best things about being a creative teacher. Each year you look at the needs of your students and you find a way to make their experiences the best they can be. Sometimes I’d open up the folder and go “YUCK” I hated that activity or I’d realized that what I did last year was not going to work for this year’s group. What it did do was get my brain thinking creatively and it was way easier to prepare for the next week’s lessons with a little something in hand rather than nothing at all.
Ok, Well here’s a picture for you of one of my totes. Not pretty but very usable.
And of course I want to give you a file folder freebie. So I’ve simply made these cute little number cards to stick into the plastic tabs that go on top of the fancy hanging folders. It will be 2 pages 1-57 and some blanks. Just print, cut, fold and insert.
Coming Up… Tomorrow is a bonus post I want to get to you right away. I just made a product for Teachers Pay Teachers but I want to give you a freebie to get you started. Only you will be getting this freebie. Thanks so much for letting me be a part of your teacher life.
Until then, go be your AMAZING self.