How to Map Out Your Lesson Plans for a Whole Year

Planning for an entire school year? Sounds crazy, right? Mapping out lesson plans for a whole year can seem daunting at first, but with careful planning and organization, it can be done.

mapping out lesson plans for a full year blog post header

Mapping out your lesson plans a year at a time is an effective way to stay organized and focused as an educator. While it may seem like a lot of work upfront, taking the time to plan out your lessons in advance can help you stay on track and ensure that you’re meeting your students’ needs.

Let’s take a look at the directions to map out your lesson plans

Using a blank excel spreadsheet, go ahead and create your basic Monday through Friday schedule.  This would include everything from your Morning Meeting (if you’re not sure what to put in your morning meeting, this recent blog post breaks it down for you) pull-outs, whole group instruction, small group instruction, 1 on 1 work, etc.  Then use your provided calendar to plug in any special dates such as holidays, professional development, school events, etc. that may alter your schedule.

Copy that weekly plan and paste for the amount of weeks you have in that month.  For example, August 2022 has 4 weeks so you would copy that plan across 3 times to ensure you have the correct amount of weeks in the month. 

Now copy and paste for the rest of your school months – this would be custom to what months you are in school.

As you go through the year and things change, simply edit the week you are currently on, then copy and paste those same changes for the rest of that month, as well as the rest of the year.

You could create different tabs at the bottom for the different months rather than having them all on the same page, a tab for your monthly units, topics or themes – anything extra you may need is now all housed in one spot!

Screenshot 2023 05 10 at 10.54.50 AM

Need a more visual description on how to make an editable classroom schedule using Google Sheets? Take a look the YouTube video below.

At any given time, you now have an accurate reading of your past, present and penciled in lessons.  This is a simple way to then share the document with whomever you need to share your lesson plans with (if you’re lucky, you don’t have to submit them.

Do you prefer planning as you go?

Good news…this still works! You can still make this schedule and edit each area as needed when you know what you will be teaching and when. By mapping these out in your calendar, you will have a good idea on how your week could be broken up. 

By mapping these out in your calendar, you will have a good idea on how your week could be broken up. 

Do you have a student who does not do well with a change in their schedule?  Knowing this in advance gives you the opportunity to speak with that child and prepare him or her in advance for their schedule change.

Do you have a student who does not do well coming back to school after a break?  Again, having this mapped out in advance will help you better prepare that child for an as successful as possible return to school.

Need to reteach something? This makes it easy to just copy & paste your daily activities from one day to the next.  We all know how often that happens in the special education setting.

While mapping out your lesson plans a year at a time requires time and effort, the benefits make it well worth it. By doing so, you can increase your efficiency, gain a big-picture perspective, stay on track, encourage reflection, and ultimately improve student outcomes.

What are some of your favorite ways to plan ahead for the year? Let us know in the comments below!




  • Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner