Back to School: Creating a Plan for your Year


The start of a new school year is one of the busiest times of years for a teacher. Most of us our overwhelmed with all that needs to be planned for the year ahead. Most of us struggle with where to begin. Today, I am sharing with you another one of my Back to School strategies: Creating a Master Plan!

A few years ago I was browsing around a Back-to-School sale on Teachers Pay Teachers and ran across Traci Clausen. She creates an AMAZING product called the Yearly Curriculum Planner. Believe it or not... she sells it for $6.50 and it comes with free upgrades every year. Yes... Free Upgrades!

I am telling you... YOU NEED THIS! Sure I can use excel... I have become a wiz at manipulating her plan and if I wanted to, I could recreate it but it is so cheap and she did all the work for me. Each year I simply download and WaaLa ... I am ready to go!

Why Create a Master Plan

My first year of teaching, I relied on my district to provide me with a pacing guide. I looked at the binder of what had to be taught and thought... I have a TON of time to get through this! Before I knew it, I was a week behind, then three, and then the testing came and the end of the year was upon us and I never caught up. 

I learned that I HAD to have a plan. Yes, what my district provided was good but I needed something to ensure I was on task and holding myself accountable. This simple 1-page plan was exactly the tool I needed. 


Steps to Creating Your Yearly Plan

  1. Buy Traci's Excel File or she has it in numbers for my Apple-Loving Teacher Friends. 
  2. Add in your district's holidays and breaks to the calendar.
  3. List your classes
  4. Week 1 - save for rules, procedures, and community building
  5. Starting with week 2, map out your chapters. 
  6. Save and Print!
When planning out my year, I look for those odd 2 and 3 day weeks. These annoy me as there is not much I can do in this time frame. I try to not schedule anything for these weeks. I skip over them. 

During the school year, these few days allow me to have either catch-up time, review time, or allows me to plan for a fun project. This is also where I try to schedule my class parties. It works perfectly as now this wasted time has been regained. 

Back to School Guide

In preparing for a successful school year, I always take a week toward the end of summer break to review my reflections from the previous year and to prepare for the year ahead. Join me this week as I take you through my top 6 must-dos.

  1. Creating a Year Long Plan
  2. Setting up Schoology
  3. Using EdTech to Differentiate Instruction
  4. Managing Data with Student Binders
  5. Interactive Notebooks... revisited
  6. Updating Your Portfolio

I have a few more things to do over the summer but will be back at the beginning of August with more fun Back to School topics for you including:

  1. Picking a Classroom Theme
  2. Setting Up Your Classroom
  3. Money Saving Tips for Back to School Sales
  4. Starting Your Morning Off Right
  5. Managing the I'm Done Now What-ers
  6. Homework they Love to do

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