Organizing your daily lesson plan materials

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on August 3, 2010

in Classroom Management, Professional Development, Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers

This is a simple way to keep your daily lesson plans materials organized as you prepare for each week of school. Gather a nice sized basket (a lesson plan box). Make sure your lesson plan box is large enough to hold file folders and large children’s books.

Label a set of pocket folders with each day of the week and place them in your basket.

In each pocket folder, place the games, flannel board pieces, songs, or books you plan to use for each day.

We also use the pocket folders as dividers in the basket. What doesn’t fit inside the pocket folder goes in front of each pocket folder like sponges, tape, cotton balls, or other specialty items that will be needed for each day.

The goal is to have everything that is called for in the lesson plan available and organized so the teacher can focus on presenting the material rather than spending valuable teaching time searching for the material.


It is important to note that there are also centers in each classroom that are filled with items for children to freely explore and create!

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1 Bev August 3, 2010 at 8:33 am

I like the folder idea. I have been using a separate basket for each day, which works well for me but also takes up a bit of space. I agree that it is definitely a time saver, since I don’t have to spend so much time searching for things. It also helps me plan for what I need to purchase for the week. Before using this method, I would sometimes find out we couldn’t do an activity because I didn’t have all the necessary items.

2 Deborah J. Stewart August 3, 2010 at 9:46 am

That is what I found too – much better to have everything ready to go. Even if it gets put off for a day or so, you will be more likely to use the ideas:)

3 Carolina August 3, 2010 at 9:17 am

Another great post Deborah, especially with the new school year just around the corner. I also really liked your interview from Best Toys for Toddlers which I retweeted. Sound advice and a philosophy that we use here as well at La Piazza di Carolina.

4 Deborah J. Stewart August 3, 2010 at 9:47 am

Thank you Carolina for reading both articles:)

5 Kristi August 3, 2010 at 10:36 am

Fabulous idea!

6 Deborah J. Stewart August 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Thank you Kristi:)

7 Jess August 3, 2010 at 10:41 am

This is such a GREAT idea!! I have used similar systems like this in the past!!! I am moving into a new classroom this year and need to make a new system for myself!

8 Deborah J. Stewart August 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I am going to have to click on your Chomping Cars link and see what that is all about:)

9 Erica August 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Great idea, good to be prepared!

10 Deborah J. Stewart August 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Thank you Erica:)

11 Amy M August 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm

This is really helpful for me! I am starting back as a teacher in a child care center after being away for a couple of years. Being organized was never my best talent! :)
Having it all in one spot will help so much.
Thank you!

12 Deborah J. Stewart August 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm

LOL! I hope you are able to improve this talent:)

13 lesson plan August 5, 2010 at 3:22 am

I agree that it is definitely a time saver, since I don’t have to spend so much time searching for things.

14 April August 27, 2010 at 10:37 am

This has been really inspiring to me. You are full of expertise and good ideas! Even though I have just the little girl that I do stuff with, its hard to get all of the stuff together when I want to do something with her. If I would just set it all up before hand, it would make things go smoother.

15 Erika Felt August 27, 2010 at 11:31 am

I have just smacked my forehead on this one lol
I think I might of left a mark!
For years I have ran around just before a planned activity attempting to gather up everything I need while the children look at me like I’m nuts. Sometimes I’ll get “organized” and gather the things together the night before but then I don’t remember where I put the gathered things UGH
Like Amy M, I am developing this talent :D

I have the perfect box and believe I have pocket folders….somewhere
Thanks for your great posts and for helping me work toward being a better educator :)

16 melanie August 29, 2010 at 9:41 am

I was just wondering if anybody had heard of a teaching tool called Adventure Bear??? I have seen it in the public school system for kindergarten children. Its a stuffed bear that they bring home and have an adventure with it on the weekend but i need a little more info. Like what other details it comes with. What else comes with it and what they do with it? Hope someone can help me.. Thank you.

17 Deborah J. Stewart August 29, 2010 at 11:10 am

Hi Melanie,

There are many versions of this type of activity but this is a simple version I like to use…

1. Provide a small backpack and place in it your adventure bear and a notebook titled Adventure Bear’s journal, a children’s book, and an instruction card.
2. Introduce adventure bear to your students and explain to them how they will each take a turn bringing adventure bear home in his special backpack to go on an adventure with them for a weekend.
3. The adventure can be anything like playing in the park, going to a zoo, or a day at the beach.
4. Send a note home to parents explaining their role as well. Their role is to help the child write in the journal a brief sentence or more about the adventure they had with Adventure Bear. They are also to read the book that you have sent along sometime over the weekend with their child and with Adventure Bear.
5. Some parents go all out and take photos as well.
6. The Journal, Book, and Bear should all be placed back in the back pack and sent back to school with the child on Monday.
7. During Monday morning share time, the child will share his adventure with Adventure Bear, the journal entries, as well as the book that was read.
8. The children (and teacher) ask open ended questions about the weekend adventure for the child to answer.
9. Each Friday, choose a new child to take home Adventure Bear along with a new children’s book. I always selected a book that would be a part of a study we planned to do that next week so essentially it served more than one purpose. It promotes reading and writing at home and was a spring board for discussion on what we would be doing throughout the new week ahead.

I hope this is helpful…

18 Maha September 1, 2010 at 3:24 am

thanks for great idea
i was hold my materials in a plastic bag and my worksheets in another hand
i’m very tired because of that way
but from this time i’ll apply your idea

with best regards


19 Deanna @ Lesson Plan Source October 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

This is a great idea. The folders are very useful. I’d offer one further tip to expand it a little. Add a couple more folders — Label one Next Week and label the other Next Month. Then you can put future lessons in there. At the end of the week (or whenever you organize the folders to prepare for the next week) review the material in the Next Week folder and put the contents in the appropriate day folder. At the end of the month, do the same with the Next Month Folder.

You could even get a little more advanced and create one for the next few weeks.

This idea is completely stolen…uh borrowed… (but teacher modified) from David Allen’s Getting Things Done book

20 Deborah J. Stewart October 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Haha – thank you for sharing your “borrowed” ideas! I love the idea of planning further ahead – I always have a head full of ideas that I lose track of. This is a great way to get them started and then add to them!

21 cherry November 23, 2010 at 8:57 am

Thanks Deborah. I gained a great idea on how to teach preschoolers through reading your articles here.

22 Deborah J. Stewart November 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Thank you Cherry!

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