How I plan my lessons

School begins in earnest tomorrow with new staff induction. One of the special characteristics of being a teacher is the fresh start every year whereby you can renew your impetus for your work. I thought I would share how I set up my planning and markbooks.

  1. Write my weekly lessons into a Google Doc table (it expands to meet my needs, obviously)
  2. Highlight/add specific information; events and notes for outside the classroom are also entered in the day rows
  3. Link to markbook for each class
  4. Call it a template, and make a new copy for each week
  5. Fill it in as required; links to lesson resources et al
  6. Open and use in every lesson
  7. Archive each term into a new folder

Planning doc (links removed)

Markbook example (names removed)

The markbook includes a sheet for register, marks, class photo (new classes), and anything that is required, e.g. exams get a sheet of their own with question breakdowns. Or a project will get two comments for feedback and reflection so I make the effort to paste these into a separate sheet. I have even been known to paste reports into here as well. As it grows I colour code it. I use it for registers because we do not require these to be completed on our MIS in lessons. I use comments for specific absence reasons or tardiness or info on deadline extensions and the like. And I comment on the names with confidential info on SEN and other relevant info. The marks sheet also includes baseline data on each pupil. This takes a while to set up but proves invaluable through the year.

This method works for me. It is simple and within my complete control. Accessible on any device, and set to available offline (computer/iPad/phone) so accessible any time. I have tried a few apps but never sustained my efforts with them. Doing it my way, on my system, motivates me to stick with it and get things done. It builds a profile of every pupil I teach and supports me in my endeavour to know them and know their progress to the best of my ability.

Good luck to all educators out there starting something new! I begin a new role as Deputy Housemaster of Grafton — the image at the top is my new spot for morning coffee. If you think there is some way or app or methodology that might tweak or revolutionise my planning, send me a note or link?