Systems for Success Teacher Planning and Prep

Systems for Success Part 1: Teacher Planning and Prep

Creating systems in your room is a POWERFUL way to streamline your classroom in a way that saves time, lessens interruptions, and reduces confusion.

So what is a system?

A system is a series of steps and micro routines and procedures that work together to accomplish a larger goal. It is something that helps your classroom function smoothly from day to day.

Over the next several blog posts, I’m going to walk you through six systems that you can set up inside your classroom to truly set yourself up for a successful school year.

As we go through each system, we’ll start by defining a system that truly works for you, your personality, your school, and your students. Then, we’ll work to simplify that system to it’s clearest and easiest format. Finally, we’ll observe that system, make any needed changes, and adapt it as necessary.

The first system we are going to create is around teacher planning and preparation. Now I know that sounds counterintuitive, but stick with me! Thinking through your lessons and looking at the types of activities that will take place in your room will affect the layout, storage, and overall organization of your room. WHAT you want to teach and HOW you want to teach it has a ripple effect on every other area in your room. That’s why we will start here.

If you are looking to save precious time, streamline your planning and preparation, and use editable, print-and-go resources, you want to check out the complete teacher planning and prep bundle!

Inside, you’ll find 8 editable products that you can truly customize to your classroom. Click here to grab your copy!

teacher planning and prep 3-step process
Three Steps to Planning Your System

1. Define

When defining your system of planning and preparation, you want to think about how you prefer to plan. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you like paper planners?
  • Do you like digital planners?
  • Do you use both types?
  • Do you plan by yourself or with a team?
  • Does your school require a certain type of plan or curriculum map?

Answering these questions will help you find something that makes sense for you in a way you can be consistent with.

I personally like to have a combination of both paper and digital. I like the ability to write on something that can be erased and rearranged. However, the flexibility and portability of a remote planning tool also comes in handy.

I love this paper planner because it allows me the flexibility I need to type or write directly onto the pages. I can add important dates and events like parent-teacher conferences and holiday breaks before I even print it off. Then, I can write a brief summary of what my days and weeks look like. The digital sticker option is also a great way to create a nice visual for myself.

Some digital options I love are:

Next, you want to create a scope and sequence. This isn’t something that needs to be extremely detailed (because we know how fluid our lessons can and need to be). You just want a general idea of the lessons and units you plan to teach and how you generally like to teach them.

As I mentioned before, the types of lessons and activities you do will affect your room’s overall layout, storage, and organization. Thinking through WHAT you plan to teach and HOW you plan to teach it will help set you up for a smoother year.

This editable curriculum map and pacing guide set is a great way to map out exactly what you need to get done, what standards are covered, what materials you need, and when you want to cover each topic.

If you want to download a FREE page from my curriculum map and pacing guide set to try it out, click here.

Finally, you want to define how you plan to store your master copies as well as student copies of assignments. I like to have a digital copy on my computer whenever possible in case I lose the paper copies. I would print off paper copies and store them inside binders. That way, I could take each binder to the copy machine and make my copies all at once. Each lesson inside the unit was separated by divider tabs to keep things organized. It made it extremely easy to add or remove activities well.

Then I would store student copies inside drawers on this rolling cart (which I used every single week) and inside my favorite Sterilite containers for centers or small group work.

2. Simplify

After you have decided how you want to create your system, it’s time to simplify. Think through the following questions:

  • Is there a way I can cut out the number of steps it takes to do something?
  • Is there a way I can mega batch my planning so it takes less time overall?
  • Can I cut out any piles or clutter?

The system that you can stick with the most consistently is the one that is in its simplest form.

3. Observe and Adapt

Observe and Adapt

Finally, it’s time to observe and adapt your system in action. This is when you’ll look for gaps or problem areas that you can tweak to improve. Remember, you want to make a system that works for YOU.

Any system you create is not set in stone. It is fluid and dynamic, which allows you the freedom you need to make it the best it can be.

If you are looking to save precious time, streamline your planning and preparation, and use editable, print-and-go resources, you want to check out the complete teacher planning and prep bundle!

Inside, you’ll find 8 editable products that you can truly customize to your classroom. Click here to grab your copy!

Check out part 2, Routines and Procedures here!

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Meet the author
Cassie Tabrizi
Cassie Tabrizi
After being in elementary education for 14 years, and as founder of Create-Abilities, Cassie is passionate about helping fellow educators empower their teaching.
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