Create a Lesson Plan Calendar

Calendar with date circled
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Lesson Plan Calendar

It is easy to become overwhelmed when you begin planning units of study and individual lessons for a school year. Some teachers just start with their first unit and continue until the year ends with the attitude that if they didn't complete all the units then that's the way life is. Others try to plan out their units in advance but run into events that cause them to lose time. A lesson plan calendar can help both of these teachers by giving them a realistic overview of what they can expect in terms of instructional time.

Following are step-by-step instructions to help you create your own personal lesson plan calendar.


  1. Get a blank calendar and a pencil. You don't want to use pen because you will probably need to add and erase items over time.

  2. Mark off all vacation days on the calendar. I generally just draw a big X right through those days.

  3. Mark off any known testing dates. If you don't know the specific dates but you do know in which month testing will occur, write a note at the top of that month along with the approximate number of instructional days you will lose.

  4. Mark any scheduled events that will interfere with your class. Again if you are unsure of the specific dates but know the month, make a note at the top with the number of days you expect to lose. For example, if you know that Homecoming occurs in October and you will lose three days, then write three days at the top of the October page.

  5. Count up the number of days left, subtracting for days noted at the top of each month.

  1. Subtract one day each month for unexpected events. At this time, if you want, you can choose to subtract the day before vacation begins if this is typically a day that you lose.

  2. What you have left is the maximum number of instructional days you can expect for the year. You will be using this in the next step.

  1. Go through the Units of Study necessary to cover the standards for your subject and decide the number of days you think will be needed to cover each topic. You should use your text, supplementary materials, and your own ideas to come up with this. As you go through each unit, subtract the number of days required from the maximum number determined in step 7.

  2. Adjust your lessons for each unit until your result from Step 8 equals the maximum number of days.

  3. Pencil in the start and completion date for each unit on your calendar. If you notice that a unit would be split by a long vacation, then you will need to go back and readjust your units.

  4. Throughout the year, as soon as you find out a specific date or new events that will remove instructional time, go back to your calendar and readjust.

Useful Tips:

  1. Don't be afraid to readjust plans throughout the year. It doesn't pay to be rigid as a teacher - this will only add to your stress.

  2. Remember to use pencil!

  3. Publish your calendar to students if you desire so that they can see where you are heading.

Materials Needed:

  • Blank Calendar
  • School Calendar
  • Pencil