Friday, October 4, 2013

Do you keep your lesson plans year after year? it weird that I don't?

I hear a lot of teachers make comments about referring to last year's plans to see where they were at this point in the year.

I totally trash last year's plans at the end of the year.  I don't even think twice about it.

That totally means that this pricey sucker will end up in the garbage at the end of May.
But I will say, I absolutely adore it and all of the organization it provides.

If it was an important idea, or project, or anything, then I have it on my jump drive or binder and I'm set to pull it next year if I need to.

I really don't want to know where I was last year or what I was doing.  Then I might feel behind and rushed.  Or like I should slow down.  What I really want to do is meet the needs of my students.  This year's students.  Not last year's.  Or next year's.  Not every lesson is going to meet the needs of every student every year.

We might go slower.  We might skip something we already know.  We might do a brand new project I found.  Or we might do something I do every year because it's awesome.  I'll probably revamp it a little to make it better, though.

I think this keeps me fresh and excited about teaching.  It keeps me searching for new ideas and looking for the next best thing.  Don't get me wrong, if something works and it's a great activity, then I will keep doing it.  But sometimes I need different approaches and new ideas and the latest research to see what will make a concept click with my students.

I also have each subject mapped out for the year, which is organized by units and standards.  I tweak it at the beginning of every year to be sure I have everything where I want it.  That way I can be sure to get through everything that I'm supposed to without looking back at exact plans.

I encourage every new teacher (or experienced teacher as well!) to toss their old plans and start over each year.  Keep a map of your year, but get rid of the plan book.  Start fresh.  Design your plans to match your current students.  Keep your teaching innovative and fun.  Challenge yourself to try something new.

I love this article from {Education Rethink} entitled "throw away your lesson plans".  That's exactly how I feel!

Do you keep your plans from past years?  Do you refer back to them each year?


  1. I keep them, but I only refer to last year's if I forget the order that I did something. I guess I really don't know why I have plans from the last 14 years... Hmm... maybe it's time to do some housecleaning...

    Fifth in the Middle

  2. I keep some and toss others. I never really look back, but I keep the previous year then toss at the end of the new year.

  3. I keep the last two years...I leave notes to myself on my plans (what I went well, what didn't, what I may want to spend more time on depending on how the class is.) We are required to keep them for a year (that way if we leave (sickness, maternity, etc.) we are giving the new teacher a full year worth of plans)

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  4. We were told you had to keep your plans for 5 years because if a situation happened and you needed to prove you taught something you could. Real example: One of our students was hit crossing the street from school and we had to prove that we taught crossing the street safety. C-R-A-Z-Y.....yes I know.