The more organised I am the more I feel like I’m winning at life! I love setting up systems that make planning and staying organised as easy as possible. Here are my favourite ways to simplify lesson planning:
1. Student Folders
I got this idea from organising genius/piano teacher Tracy Selle and made a few changes so that it works best for me. I’ve set up one folder for each student (a coloured manilla folder with file fasteners similar to these with clear page protectors like these) and each folder includes:
- Pocket on the inside cover to keep the weekly lesson plan
- Student information page for some basic details like birthday and phone numbers
- Student interview (I downloaded this free template)
- Page for recording method books and other repertoire
- Pocket for holding previous lesson plans
- Pocket for holding copies of current pieces (nearly all the digital music I purchase has a studio license, so I don’t have to worry about buying extra copies)
- Page for writing general notes
Folders are also great for keeping new books/handouts/lesson resources which I can then give to the student at our next lesson. I have the folders ordered by day and lesson order, and love having all the information I need at my fingertips.
2. Lesson Planning Template
Planning lessons became infinitely easier when I started using this lesson planning template. It took a bit of trial and error to have it set up exactly right, but the benefits are huge! Before each lesson I’ll write down some activities and the current pieces we’re working on, and after the lesson I’ll tick off what we actually got through and make any additions.
I can see at a glance what we covered which makes it easy to plan for the following lesson. And it’s simple to look back over previous lessons when I’m trying to remember if I’ve already tried a particular game or activity with each student.
If you’d like to simplify lesson planning then sign up to the Free Resource Library to get your hands on this template plus more amazing resources!
3. Resources List
Creating a master list of resources may take some effort to set up, but will save so much time each week! I have a spreadsheet in Google Drive which is organised by activity types (which matches my lesson plan activity types) and can be sorted by level and type of resource. It saves me from getting into a rut with the activities I’m using and is great for reminding me about resources I’ve forgotten about.
4. Weekly Feature
Instead of spending time working out specific resources to use with each and every student, make things easy on yourself with this smart idea from Sara Campbell:
Choose just one game or resource to feature for the whole week.
There are lots of games and resources that can be adapted for different levels, so choosing one (or two) for every student to try for a week definitely makes lesson planning easier. If you’re looking for some new games then here are some of my favourites.
5. Lucky Break Lessons
For one week every term I put my lesson plans away and let Fate decide what we’ll be doing! With Lucky Break Lessons (available in the Free Resource Library) students roll the dice to work out which activities will be happening during our lesson.
If you’d like to find out more then check out this post for details.