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Lesson Planning Time


Full Member
When do you find time to do your lesson plans? How long does it take you? I have a 30 minute break 4 times a week and a 45 minute break one time a week. I use this time to use the bathroom, check my box, sort through homework, start grading papers, make copies, etc. I get to school about 30 minutes early and stay 1 hour late when I can. But, most every afternoon we have meetings (I have after school meetings three days this week and a parent conference) or we have extra paper work that has nothing to do with actually teaching. I struggle getting it all in without brining it home. I don't want my home time to be school time. I've got a husband and I'm 7 months pregnant, there are more important things than work when I'm home. My house is always dirty and I never have time to get everything in. I"m sure some of it has to do with my exhaustion from being pregnant, but still, how do you do it? Thanks.


Senior Member
lesson plans

I HAVE to do my lesson plans at home. It's about the only time I have to myself to sit quietly and actually get anything done. My planning period is a 35 minute slot when the kids are at p.e. However, my planning period is always taken up with checking and responding to my school email, starting students on make up work/tests, etc., grading a few papers if I'm lucky (I usually grade at home), going by the office to check my mailbox, and oh yeah, using the restroom my one time a day at school. :p

Seriously, there is never enough time to get it all in. When I do my lesson plans I sit down and do a chapter/unit at a time. We are fortunate to be able to use books with the little square boxes that nothing fits in. This makes it easier to keep plans simple and to the point. By doing a chapter at a time, I usually am able to do 2 to 3 weeks so I can concentrate on other things. If I don't get to something I just draw an arrow to it for the next day or week.

I do commend you for keeping your personal time yours and not working, but I enjoy teaching and planning new things to do, so it feels like more of a hobby than work when doing my plans. It also helps that I only have to plan for 3 subjects since we are departmentalized. Is there a way that you can do your plans on a computer so next year they are already there, just print them out? I have also heard of teachers who help each other plan. For example if there are three 5th grade teachers, one teacher does the plans for one week, the next teacher does the plans for the next week and so on. Or, one teacher plans for science, one does the plans for reading, etc. and all share the same basic plans. Good luck and just try to find what works best for you.

Carrie in WV

Full Member
I do mine at home

I usually do two weeks worth of lesson plans at a time. I have only been at this school 3 years, and some of the stuff I did my first year was not as effective as I wanted it to be. I am more organized now; one of the statements I made at my end of the year interview was that I wanted to "work smarter", and thankfully, I am starting to...my biggest time waster is this board!!! I am addicted and actually, it is very helpful!!

I teach at a private school and I have a 12th grader, an 11th grader, and a 7th grader who all here. They are all very active in sports. Saturday I spent hours at a soccer and volleyball championship that my kids were involved in, but I also had to "work" by doing the clock, admissions, etc.

On one of my evaluations last year there was a set of questions, "Is your room neat and orderly? Are your bulletin boards changed often?" My reply was, "Yes, my room is very neat, clean, and well decorated. It is in far better shape than my house--which should tell you where my heart is!!" I found out the principal "shared" that remark at the next teacher's meeting...and everyone applauded! My principal thought it was a real gem!


Senior Member
Plans at home

I do my plans at home and it takes only about 20 minutes. My grade group shares the chore of plan writing. There are four of us and we each take a subject. I have made a template for my subject, reading. The major objectives that remain the same weekly, vocabulary, sight word reveiw, read story text are on the template along with vague descriptions for activities that we do daily. (ex. Vocabulary reveiw activity, or read story orally)This leaves it open so that each of us four teachers can choose whatever activity we want without having to write out specifics. With the template made it is easy to add in the "extra" skill that we are concentrating on each day.
I feel very lucky that my grade group works together like this, and I don't have to write out step by step descriptions in my plans. My belief has always been that lesson plans should be just that: LESS ON Plans! After all, what other profession requires their employees to write out what objective they plan to meet for every minute of every day?



I do mine at home on the weekends for the upcoming week. Then during my during the week, after my children have gone to bed, I spend some time correcting and preping for the next days lesson (planning games, etc.), I do some of the preping for lessons on the weekends, but usually I just do it during the week.


Senior Member
I procrastinate a little bit

I usually wait until the weekend to do my plans for the upcoming week. I start making my plans around Thursday for the "easy" lessons. Spelling and things like that are pretty much a routine; I have to spend more time on literature and writing. I end up bringing it home on the weekends, and I usually work on it on Sunday when my husband watches football. At least we're sitting together :)


Full Member
It is hard

I too have a hard time getting it in without taking it home. I have to fit it in here and there. I do sometimes take it home so I can think better. But I find it gets easier the more years I teach the same grade.



I do my plans on the weekends. We are fortunate in that we are given a key so we can come up and work on the weekends. I do this usually for 2-4 (but sometimes 6) hours in the afternoon on Sun. My kids are grown but even when they were young I would come up and my husband would watch them but I usually only stayed for 2 hours. However the work load now compared to when my kids were young is much larger. There is always so much to do and there is never a "down time", at least I don't think. I have always been one to stay after and take things home but I do not know how people do it when they walk out without anything in hand. I think some just copy their plans over each year, I have never been one to do that.

Teach 5

Senior Member

It is hard to fit everything in, but with a new baby coming you don't want to have to take it all home with you. I stay late on Thursdays or Fridays, close the door and plan. It usually takes 45 mins. I like to use my lunch time to plan and/or grade papers about 3 times a week. That helps to keep me caught up. Do you have someone that could make copies for you? We have volunteers that make copies, cut out items, etc. That way our time is better spent with planning or correcting. We also have older student volunteers that can do some of the correcting. If my team gets really behind, we plan a D.E.A.R. (drop everything & read) day or a movie day. That gives us some extra time.
Good luck & congratulations on your baby.


Full Member
taking it home

Right now I do bring work home and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I too see teachers leave right on time with nothing and come to school the next day right when they are supposed to. I do not know how they get it done. But, once my baby is born I don't want to be taking it home all the time. I'm sure once I've taught more (this is my second year) I'll be able to take less time. Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.


Senior Member
sadly over the weekend

I usually spend 2 hours on the weekend at school.
I like it because it is quiet and I can get things done.
I leave my lil guy with Dad and can get up there to work.


Full Member
whenever I can

We used to plan as a grade level, but they split our specials up. Now I usually plan on the weekend and for about one hour after school, one day a week.


Full Member
Thank goodness I'm not alone

I have been teaching for 10 years and I have switched grades three times. I have no clue how people do it all between 7:00 and 3:00, teach, and take nothing home. I must admit I do enjoy planning, in that I love to dig through my teacher books and search online for new things to do. Even when I teach a grade that I have been in for a few years I am constantly looking for new things. I do need to work smart, save more, and stay focused on one thing at a time, but no one's perfect. I have a four year old I will admit spending hours on planning was much easier before her. Some ideas to try are:

pick one day a week to come in very early or stay late, it may mean getting a sitter or begging your hubby, but it will pay off.

pick a subject a day to spend one hour planning. For example, monday - math, tuesday - reading, etc. spend one hour on that subject. You may get one week, two, or three weeks done.

Choose a few hours on Saturday or Sunday and work at school. I do this sometimes. I can get a lot more done when no one is there and I am not distracted by everything I need to do at home.

Finally, I used to have a perectly clean house, all my laundry finished, clothes ironed, meals planned out, etc. I've dicovered that being a mom in a clean but not spotless home with always a few loads of wash in hamper and eating out a night or two a week is okay. I love my family and my job. I'm lucky to have a job I am passionate about. In other words you will learn to let go, you have to if you like sleep (which I can never get enough of).

I do long range planning ahead of time, but I teach the students in my room not just the curriculum. At times it is hard to get to far ahead because you never know what will come up or if the children will need review, reteaching, or head off on a tangent that is too good to pass up.

I know my words may not be helpful, but know you are in good company. By the way if anyone figures out how the "magic" people get it all done, let us know! I am convinced some people either have more hours in their day or need no sleep.

P.S. Congratulations on your upcoming arrival. Being a mom is truly a wonderful thing and I think it makes you an even better teacher!


Senior Member
As a first year teacher, I have nothing to reference from prior years. I also teach in a charter school that requires my plans for each week to be turned in the Friday before. Making that deadline has been seriously tough for me. I spent at least two nights a week which irritates my boyfriend, but there's nothing else I can do. I get to school 30 minutes early each day to prep for the day, and I try to not stay late because after a 9-10 hour day, in my classroom is the last place I want to be. I get a 45 minute prep each day while my kids are at specials, and then a 45 minute lunch. I enjoy planning, but as detailed as our lesson plans are required to be, it does get tedious and time consuming.

Good luck with the rest of your pregnany and time management. :)


Senior Member
Planning time

I do my actual lesson plans at home too. I have a template and I just rework them to fit the week. I teach preschool and kindergarten so plans can be cut and pasted too. I have been saving them on my computer for two years. I go back to prior years and cut and paste lessons. That saves me time in overall planning. It is my individual assignments that cause me to spend time at the compluter.
I spend my planning time on the computer, meeting with other teachers, or shopping for my classroom.


Senior Member
one more reply! :)

I use my planning time to do all the little tasks that need to be done during the day ex: checking email, bathroom, mailbox, book orders, etc.... For planning I get a little in here and there during the week (at home, gymnastics class - daughters not mine! ;), etc. However, most of my planning is done on my "plan night". I usually spend the Friday evening at the school planning and preparing for the next week. I do my lesson plans, set up centers, make copies, and CLEAN MY CLASSROOM! This helps me start off my week organized and helps everything flow nicely. I too work at a school where I have a key and have access to my classroom, but once I leave on the weekend I don't usually go back till Monday morning. This works well for me, but luckily I have a very understanding husband. I have been known to be up at the school very late on Friday nights. UGH!


I'll tell you how they do it all..

Those teachers you see coming and going at exact times and never taking anything home..They are able to do this because they DO NOT TEACH ALL DAY. These are usually the teachers that lecture at their students and put them to silent worksheet/textbook work. They use this time to do "their" work. While the rest of us are wandering the room, guiding, assessing and assisting students, they are getting papers graded, lessons plans written, etc...

Westie Lover

New Member
My plans are usually done at home

I have very little time to plan at school. I teach pre-k which does provide for a hour daily naptime but that is usually filled with student portfolio filing, changing out bbs, other required paperwork, cleaning, and preparing materials for the next day. Lesson plans might get done at that time occasionally but usually they are done at home. Fortunately I have a laptop (my own) which I use at school and home.