Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lesson Plans...

...I've been debating on whether or not to change the layout and title of my blog...trying it out today - what do you think??

Y'all, I have been searching for almost 5 years for a decent way to organize my lesson plans.  I have never once been 100% satisfied.  I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I am a TAD bit OCD, type-A, CDO (that's OCD in alphabetical order - the way it should be!)...get the idea?

So when I taught first grade, our "special" class time was at the same time each day.  So everyday we would have the same amount of time for our planning periods.  It made lesson plan templates very simple.  My mentor shared her template with me, and I was able to organize all of my plans easily and quickly each week.  I was in CDO heaven!

Now in kindergarten, and a different and bigger school, I don't have that luxury of the same planning time each day.  Our school ranges from Transition (preschool) to 12th grade.  Our "special" teachers have to work us and 12 other grade levels into their schedules.  I have a special place in my heart for our music teacher who has the difficult task of creating these schedules.  I would NEVER want that job!  ;o)

However, my poor CDO-self is still adjusting to having special classes at a different time and sometimes a different time-frame each day.  Last year was my first year teaching kindergarten, and I wrote out my lesson plans for each day (so one page of plans per day).  I really took a lot of time to plan out my lessons so that I could get acclimated with what I needed and wanted my students to learn.  Now it's year two, and it doesn't take QUITE as long to plan...still takes a lot more than I would want it to, but again, this CDO teacher is trying to get it just right for her students.

Here is a run-down of the materials we use...

We use Open Court Imagine It series.  I take what I need from this - I use the Morning Message and Phonemic Awareness portion as well as the Letter Knowledge and Penmanship part right now (we're teaching the sound AND handwriting techniques right now).  I also like their Book and Print Awareness concepts - but most of the time I pick my own Shared Reading book and use the Imagine It's concept to learn (I hope that makes sense!).

Not this week but next week we will start Guided Reading (I haven't finished my back to school assessing yet).  I bought "Become a Guided Reading Guru" from Lesson Plan SOS this summer.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It is awesome!  I was raised a guided reading teacher from college all the way up through teaching 1st grade.  I love it.  I swear by it.  I didn't get to do it like I wanted to last year, but this year we are kicking it up a notch!  If you are still struggling like I am to make Guided Reading everything you want it to be, go check this TpT packet out. It's only $8 but it's worth EVERY PENNY!


Scott Foresman is the adoption we use for math.  I like it a lot because it focuses on so many hands-on manipulatives.  We basically follow this lesson-by-lesson unless there's a wacko lesson that we skip (there is one in chapter 2 that is just crazy confusing for the teachers to understand let alone the kinders!).  So when you see the math part in my lesson plans, I basically just include the title of the lesson and what the students should do (practice on the handout is what most days say).  In between all of that is the "good stuff"...I just don't have enough room on my template to spell out what we're going to do.  I have sticky notes all over my teacher's manuals to remind me of what went well last year and what I need to change this year.


Last year I purchased a book with my bonus points from Scholastic called The Complete Year in Reading and Writing for kindergarten.  I loved it, but couldn't start it up right away and had to pick-and-choose lessons to get us through the end of the year.  Our Reading adoption has writing plans built in, but I just felt like I wanted to step it up a notch in my classroom.
I am LOVING it this year.  It tells you what books to use, it has great units of study, and it also has pre-made lesson plans for teachers like me who are not very good at breaking down the components of writing.  I adapt the lessons to fit "Writing Workshop" guidelines.  We have a 5-10 minute mini lesson and then they get 10 minutes to practice.  Then we close with a 5 minute share.  I LOVE to write (as you have noticed), but I'm still learning how to teach my students to write. My handsome purchased this same book for 4th grade and is loving it too.

Science and Social Studies:

We create weekly and monthly units of study for science and social studies.  Right now we are in the middle of "All About Me" ...getting to know differences and similarities in each other.  This week we will continue that as well as talking about family life and the components and structure of different families.  We are blessed with a Science Lab at the school and as a "Special Class."  Students get to have wonderful hands-on experiences with live animals and different objects each week.  LOVE the science lab!

Okay, here are my plans for this all their glory (yeah right).  I am always looking for new ideas and constructive criticism, so let me know if you do something similar, or if you have tried something in the past that works better...

Johnson Lesson Plans

This post was inspired by Mrs. Lochridge's post:

Lesson Planning in the 21st Century...go check it out!

Happy Sunday, y'all! at peace, and all will be well...


  1. I LOVE this post!! You are so organized! I would totally want to be a sub in your class! Way to go!

    Miss Kindergarten

  2. Love the look of your blog! So readable and pleasing to the eye. :) I enjoyed reading about the curriculum and details of your day. Thanks for sharing your plans, too. This year I purchased Lucy Calkins' "Units of Study for Primary Writing: A Yearlong Curriculum". I am excited to implement a true "Writing Workshop", as well. Thanks for the shout out! I appreciate it. Have a great week!

    First Grade Factory

  3. I like the new layout! Fresh and fun. Good job!