My Sanity Saver

So it's the third full week of school, and I'm sick. Really, I've been sick for two days, but who's counting. Right?

Regardless, I've found a sanity saver this school year. In previous years, I've known myself to completely waste multiple prep periods per week. I ended up planning, grading, and everything else on the weekend. Yuck. Here's my fix: I've assigned each of my daily prep periods a specific set of tasks. It sounds crazy, but let me explain.

I borrowed this idea from a tpt teacher blogger (If you know who it was, please let me know so that I can give her credit. I looked everywhere to find the blog post I was thinking of and am coming up blank.)I modeled my planning page after hers, but I think she does hers a little differently. Regardless, the main idea is the same. You assign each day a specific set of tasks. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by my list of things to do or wasting time trying to do a million different things (none of which get done efficiently or completely), I focus one on set of tasks. If I finish that day's tasks early, I move on to other things on my list that I want to work on.

On Mondays, I complete administrative tasks. This can be anything from writing recommendation letters for students, filling out and turning in paper work, putting my original copies where they belong, straightening up a specific area of my room, to checking in books from my classroom library. It's pretty broad. It's the things that don't fit in somewhere else.

Tuesdays are for grading and filing. It's pretty straightforward; I grade, record, and file as much as humanly possible during my prep period.

Wednesday is for communication. It's great that this comes after my grading day. This way, if I notice that a student is struggling, I can discuss it with their parents. Obviously, if there is an issue that needs be addressed immediately, I call on the day that it happens. I also work on my newsletters (preparing, printing, and mailing) and positive postcards on this day.

Lesson planning happens on Thursday. That means that I write out everything that I need to cover the following week: bell ringers, grammar, vocab, main lesson, and etc. I locate all of my files that I'll need for the following week. If I don't already have a hard copy, I print one. I clip all of those originals together and place them in my "to copy" drawer. (That's another story for another day.) This is the layout of my lesson planner, so I just write my daily plans here. I'm a pen/pencil and paper kind of girl. As much as I love technology, I'm attached to my physical planner.

Friday is the perfect day for copying! I'm just saying. No one wants to copy on Fridays. This means that the copier is usually free. I copy sets of each handout that I need, I clip them together with labeled binder clips, and I place them in the appropriate drawers to use for the next week. This keeps me from waiting in the copy line, from coming in super early, and from making running like crazy to make copies in the middle of the week. I made my own binder labels just because I'm a little obsessive about things matching, but I found this really cute, free, set over at The Classroom Creative if you're interested in trying the binder clip method out.

Obviously everyone's schedule looks different. This has definitely helped me to be more efficient, however. My type A brain loves to have specific tasks to complete each day. I have found that it's easier to stay "on task" when all of my to do items are related for the day. No more wasted prep periods. No more planning on the weekends. No more running to the copier in the middle of the day or super early in the morning. Welcome back efficiency and sanity; I've missed you. Want an editable copy of a weekly agenda above? Click HERE to download it.

Do you have a method to the madness? What do you do to make the most of your planning period?


  1. What a great idea!!! At my school [the one I just left to move to TX] we didn't have a prep period-Monday was our prep day because there was not officially school. Mondays were like office hours in college; if you need help, you go see your teacher, and then there was an assignment you did at home for each class. Anyway, I had to do ALL that stuff in one day. But if I ever do get preps again, I'm so going to do this idea!!! :) Thanks for sharing!

    Tales of Teaching in Heels

  2. Would you happen to have a copy of the weekly task schedule to share?

    1. Yes, I've updated the post to include a dropbox link. It's not this exact agenda as the header and font are a little different, but it is editable. You can also find it here.

  3. Love these ideas! I am a compulsive organizer and have a list of "to do" but not categorized as yours are. Great!

  4. I loved your ideas, and think you're right about assigning specific tasks to specific days. It's someone of a "sufficient to the day is the evil thereof" idea! I wanted to check out the agenda, yet the link was dead :-(

    1. I just took care of this and updated the link. I have my dropbox synced with my computer, and I must have moved the file on my computer causing a dead link on my blog. Sorry.