Lesson planning for several different subjectsWhat are some organizational techniques that you use to help differentiate your plans for different subjects? For instance, do you use an altogether...

Lesson planning for several different subjects

What are some organizational techniques that you use to help differentiate your plans for different subjects? For instance, do you use an altogether separate plan book for each one to avoid confusion? Do you have "flags" or markers denoting the different areas, and how they are to be treated? Any helpful pointers for keeping subjects straight would probably be of assistance.

I use the same template for all my classes, but differentiate the plans (done on computer), then print them out and place them in 3 separate 3-ring binders: One for World Lit., one for yearbook, and one for English II. This avoids a lot of unnecessary confusion. I have found that looking at a hard copy of something lends it more mental credibility than simply extracting it visually from a computer screen, but that's just me: a tree-killing fact compiler who would rather hold something tangible than read his plans ATM-style.

Again, any methods you use to keep your classes' content straight is probably of value or merit to others. Lend your ideas here...

Expert Answers
linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Until last year, I taught 7th and 8th grade English and 7th grade Reading. (Can someone explain to me why reading is separated from English???) My school was on a "modified" block schedule, meaning that class periods were 90 minutes, but the courses were year round and not one semester. In order to fit 8 classes into a 4-block day, we had A and B days, with 4 classes on each day. Also, since there are only 6 core courses, we had to come up with something to fill the leftover block. So we had Exploratory courses. And these class--thanks to the all-knowing powers that be--changed every 9 weeks!

So here was my schedule that last year: A days: Advanced 7th grade Eng.; Remedial 7th grade Reading; Advanced 8th grade English; planning. B days: Remedial 7th grade Eng.; Regular 7th grade English; Drama.

6 preparations!!!!!!!!!!!!

To make things worse, the students in the remedial 7th grade Eng. class were the same students in the remedial 7th grade reading class. And the students in the advanced 8th grade Eng. class were the same students in the drama class. It was difficult not only to keep one class separate from another, let alone remember whether it was A day or B day. I'd pull out my lit. book, and a student would say, "Ms. Allen, it's B day. We're supposed to do English."


I'm in the wonderful world of high school now, where I 3 preps per semester. I don't worry about how to keep them separate!

jessecreations eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Last year, I taught 10th grade Lit, yearbook, Spanish I, and Creative Writing.  It was my 4th year of teaching, and by then I had basically stopped writing traditional lesson plans.  I kept one of those "teacher plan books" where I would write out the topics of each day's lesson for each class (it had enough squares per day to accommodate all of my teaching periods).  So, for example, it might say "ar/er/ir verbs, Jeopardy game, flash cards" for Spanish. 

My lesson plans varied according to the specific class.  For Spanish, my "lesson plans" were PPT presentations for each day, which included the objective, date, and activities/notes.  This way, I just clicked to follow along.  For Creative Writing and 10th grade Lit, I just had the text we were reading or the worksheets we were using to accompany the lesson plan book I described above.  For Yearbook, I never wrote real lesson plans after the first month of the course (when I taught the skills required); I just had a daily to-do list or agenda for all of the students to see, and posted that on a separate board in the room.  If I had written lesson plans, they would have simply said, "stay on top of the kids and monitor progress, edit pages and submit work, etc."

The most important thing, of course, is to find a system that works for you.  And remember to work smarter, which isn't the same as working harder (sometimes).

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If it's any consolation, I never mastered this in 38 years of HS teaching :)  I never did a "formal" prep (not required in my school).  Some days I would make a list of "things" that I planned to achieve (eg. vocabulary work, sentence work, etc.); other days I would have a sense of the concepts I wanted to go over, but I would always try to work from where the students in that particular class "were."  Ironically, this takes a lot more "prep" than more formal preps because you have to be ready for almost anything.

The one tip I have is to makes notes at the END of each class, listing what I actually had done.  Since all classes move at different paces, I never covered the same material in each class, and I could never remember what I did the next day.  A few notes (what # problem we finished on, which concepts we covered ... ) were usually enough to get me started.  And, as in the case with linda-allen, the kids never failed to remind me what we had done :)  So my "plan" book was actually a "we did" book.

Good luck! 

cburr eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I used to teach all different subjects over the course of a week -- math, writing, literature, science, history, advisory were group lessons, plus I would give individual "sequence" math or geography lessons to kids in between the group lessons.  I kept separate sections of hard copy files for each subject, and separate desktop "folders" on my computer, but kept my student records (attendance, work completed, notes) as well as a thumbnail of what I would cover in each lesson in one planner.  I would have gone nuts having a ton of different planners!  

dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I teach four different subjects, and have done so for the past nine years. I  keep my day to day lesson topics on microsoft word and in a three ring binder. All of my exams, project assignments, and term paper assignments are logged as documents on microsoft word by number according to subject matter and class. Since I am always adding, changing, and updating my lessons for each subject I leave ample space to accomodate the alterations. Although I have everything on the computer, I still find comfort in the old fashion paper trail.

jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also teach multiple subjects, and I have found that using Excel really helps. I have a template that I use each year. Along the top is the day of the week and down the side is the time and the subject. In this way, I have the entire week at a glance. I have one sheet for each week of the year. Before school starts, I add in all of the dates, black out for holidays, and make notes of any early-release days. I have found it to be very helpful. Let me know if you would like me to e-mail a copy to you.

slchanmo1885 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I was teaching third grade with a co-teacher half day, Elementary Science the second half of the day, tutoring fourth grade after school, and teaching High School Advanced English classes (pre-college) in the evening. I am relieved to not be doing all of those things at once anymore -- it was a bit nuts! My method of organization was to have file folders in separate filing drawers for handouts, separate grade books, and separate computer files that were broken down into different units and subjects.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I plan my lessons on the computer. I use Word. Even when I kept a plan book, I kept it all in one place and did not distinguish between different subjects. They all require the same basic steps, even very different subjects. I taught two different levels of math, history and PE all at once. I kept lessons that same way.
roxprice | Student

I just wanted to thank everyone for their posts.  I am a homeschooling parent and the information you posted was helpful.  Rox