DIY POST-IT NOTE PLAN BOOK....Oh yeah!
The meat and potatoes of this post....my lesson plan book which I am in LOVE with! In the past I have read about people using post-it note lesson plan books and it sounded like a complete waste of time. Why write it out when I could type it up and print it? Boy was I WRONG! At my school, in my grade level, each person is responsible for planning a particular subject. Essentially the same plans gets passed around every year and everyone, including myself, retype or rewrite the plans so that they are in our own personal format. I've spent years trying every lesson plan format under the sun to find the one that was perfect for me. The last four years I've typed my plans and printed them, hoping to reuse them but found that I couldn't because the dates didn't match up or something changed last minute. This year I was frustrated with all of the re-doing that I just decided that I'd paperclip all the plans that my team gave me and just stick a post it note on it every day with whatever I was going to do. This worked pretty well for the school year. Then one day an official that was pretty high up in the county came tearing through our school picking apart everything around. Now, the official didn't stop by my room to complain about anything, but I figured it would be best to lose the paper clipped pile of plans. Then the thought of the post-it note lesson plan book popped into my head. I realized at that moment that is was BRILLIANT! So, I made my own lesson plan book with color coded post-it notes that is easy to reuse next year. Notes can easily be moved to different days or different pages depending on my schedule.
So, are you interested yet? Well if you are, here is what you will need:
- Spiral notebook (I would suggest one that has a vinyl cover since it will last longer)
- Post-it notes (I like the "super sticky" ones)
- Sharpie or black marker
- Post-it tabs (optional)
- Notebook cover or portfolio (optional)
Step 1: Assemble your materials
Grab the items listed above and clear off a space on the kitchen table, it's time to get our DIY on. :)
Step 2: Decide on a plan
I sketched out my idea of how I wanted to set up my plan book. I organized mine in a way that worked for me. The days of the week going left to right across the top an the subject going top to bottom down the side. Technically I didn't have to list the subject, I could have listed the time frame instead since I color coded my plans according to subject. (Blue for math, pink for reading, and green for other. I have other because writing, science, and social studies all get lumped into the same kind of time frame and due to scheduling I'm not able to hit every one each day.)
Step 3: Lay out and measure
I set up my post-its where I wanted them (I just placed the whole pad where I wanted it so I'd have an idea of what space I needed. Then I drew my lines. If you use a sharpie, the line will kind of bleed through so when you turn the page over you don't have to remeasure, just use the ruler to trace over the straight line. After tracing all the lines in the book, I went back and added tabs for the weeks. There are only 36 weeks in our school year, but I have 43 weeks worth of tabs just to be safe. I used the post-it tabs and just cut them into fourths and alternated colors. Then I wrote the week number on the tab. Super easy.
Step 4: Label boxes and add the post-it notes
That's pretty self explanatory. I used small post-it notes to note the math topic (blue), reading story (pink), related AR tests (orange), and week info (yellow). I didn't want to put any of that info on the book permanently. I used light blue for math, pink for reading, and green for other (writing, science, and social studies). The teal color is for specific standards, objectives, essential questions, etc.
Step 5: Start writing your plans
It was surprisingly easy to do this. Obviously these are not scripted 7 point lesson plans. I put down my main ideas for the lesson. Things that make perfect sense to me, and that show anyone else who might be looking that I have planned out my lessons for the day/week. I even drew little pictures for the art activities or projects that I was planning. (These are not the same plans that I would use if I had a sub, but as all of you teachers know...we always write very scripted lessons when we have subs.)
Step 6: Prepare for changes
This it a perfect example for what to do when something unexpected happens that changes your plans. On this week we had a field trip on Thursday. So, I used star shaped sticky notes to show my changes to my plan for the week. Obviously I don't expect to have the same field trip again on the same week next year. The fun shape makes it easy to see that there is a change at that time.
Step 7: Pretty Portfolio (optional)
I happened to have an old leather portfolio hanging around that I hadn't used in years. Since is cost a pretty penny I never got rid of it. So, I used it to cover my new lesson plan book (and it matches oh so well). If you don't have a portfolio or notebook cover, I would highly suggest using a notebook with a vinyl cover since it will last longer.
UPDATED TO ADD...
Step 8: Daily Schedule
On the first page of my plan book I have my schedule for each day along with mini-notes of parent volunteer times or student pull out times. I have my schedule memorized so I don't print it anywhere on my plans, but I do have it in my plan book...just in case. ;)