Timesaving Trick: Making Time for Weekly Lesson Planning

How often do you sit down at your desk and make a date with your lesson plan book? Wait. Sit down? For most art teachers a typical day involves quick glances at the lesson plan book, darting around the art room preparing and grabbing supplies, and then more quick glances…

In order to stay organized mentally, it’s important to carve out desk time each week to sit and really look at your lessons, glance ahead at next week’s schedule, and wrap your brain around the physical materials you will need for upcoming lessons or units. You simply can’t do this while running around the art room with clay on your hands.

What you need is a weekly “desk date” with yourself and your lesson plan book!


I recommend choosing one prep period each week devoted strictly to planning at your desk. For me, the day of choice is Friday. Friday works well because usually I am wrapping up one week’s lessons and getting ready for something new starting on Monday. It also helps to go into the weekend feeling organized so you can relax.  Really whatever works for you is fine. The whole point is you have a system that WORKS for YOU.

Carving out quiet time for lesson planning and looking ahead will ease your anxiety. You will know what materials to gather, what types of power points to create and posters to grab out of your storage room. You won’t be scrambling to get everything together as students are walking in. Things must be put down on paper first before our physical world can come together and align. Teaching art requires a delicate balance of managing paperwork AND supplies, and if one ball drops, the other will follow.

How do you carve out time to make a “date” with your lesson plan book and get ahead?

What planning schedule works best for you? Monthly? Weekly? Daily?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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