"Teachers have the summer off!" Teachers hear this all the time, and it can be hard to not roll our eyes at least a little when we do. Although the summer is certainly a time when teachers enjoy some hard-earned relaxation, it's also full of reflection and planning for the year to come. Great curriculum organizers can make this process a tad less stressful because they allow you to visualize your curriculum and prepare for another year of inspiring and educating the next generation of great minds.
Further Reading: 4 Things You Shouldn't Do Right Before the End of Summer Break
Google's G Suite is a set of online applications, and two of the apps, Google Drive and Google Sites, can help you easily organize your curriculum. (A basic G Suite membership is $5 a month but you can try it for free for two weeks to see if you like it.) Google Drive is an online storage system that allows you to create and store documents (Docs), presentations (Slides), spreadsheets (Sheets), and more. You can easily create folders in your Google Drive to plan for the year.
One of the many perks of working in Google Drive is the ability to share your work with others. You can add administrators, colleagues, or curriculum directors as collaborators to give them access. Create a new document or presentation for each standard or unit you will address throughout the year. Your curriculum should never be stagnant, and Google Drive provides a way to easily update and revise your plan based on your students' needs.
Google Sites, a tool for creating websites, is another fantastic tool for laying out your curriculum. You can easily add files from your computer or Google Drive, or embed websites, images, YouTube videos, Google Maps, or images. Google Sites also allows users to make their sites public or private, and offers sharing and collaborating functions, as well. Create a different page for each standard or unit you will address throughout the year, then add activities, assignments, instructional strategies, and more to your site.
If you're looking for a digital organizer, but would rather not create your own system from scratch, editable templates are a great option. Downloadable curriculum organizers, like this one from Teachers Pay Teachers, allow you to easily plan your curriculum weekly or months in advance. Editable digital organizers can be downloaded (usually as a PowerPoint or Microsoft Word file) and then filled in right on your computer. You can leave this file on your desktop to easily access and update it.
The Happy Planner
I'm an educational technology geek, but my paper-based Happy Planner makes me happy. Sometimes, things are easier to manage if they're on paper, and there's nothing wrong with that. The Happy Planner provides a fun and creative way to organize your life. Complete with laminated covers, sturdy section dividers, folder inserts, stickers, and more, the Happy Planner is a dream come true for teachers who are looking for curriculum organizers. It offers 12- or 18-month planners in multiple sizes, and the teacher insert pack includes checklists, sticker sheets, and pocket folder inserts to help you create your organizers. One of the best features is that you can purchase the Happy Planner punch to add anything (assignments, assessments, projects, lesson plans) to your Happy Planner.
Bloom Teacher Planner
If you're looking for a more traditional teacher planner to plan your curriculum, check out the Bloom Teacher Planner. In addition to being a sturdy, spiral-bound planner, it provides many great resources for teachers to use throughout the school year. The planner's first page includes a section for personal information as well as a section that asks why you decided to become a teacher. I love this because it's definitely something that teachers need to be reminded of, especially when we have hard days throughout the year.
Further Reading: A Back-to-School Checklist for Busy Teachers
In the Bloom Teacher Planner, you'll also find a page for schedule information, student lists, a "call home log," field trip information, and a grade book. My favorite feature of this planner is the "plan for…" pages at the beginning of each month. The Bloom Teacher Planner provides a "This Month's Focus" and "Goals for this Month" section that teachers can use to sketch their curriculum focus and goals throughout the year. At the end of each month, you'll see a review page that encourages teachers to reflect upon the goals their goals. Each month also begins with a motivational or inspirational quote about teachers.
Whether you prefer digital or paper, there's a tool out there that will help you plan your curriculum for the new school year. What do you use to get prepared? Leave a comment!