Back to School Basics: Don’t Recreate the Wheel

I can’t tell you how many times I recreated the wheel as a teacher. I’d spend hours developing a worksheet, or labor over making sure I had all of the information for a form and then a colleague would say, “Oh I could have sent you one that I use!” or I see a teacher-friend on social media post a link to an online resource that was exactly what I needed. It’s frustrating to be sure. So, before you take your precious time to create a resource that already exists… check with the teacher next door, ask your friends, or look online. Make a pledge to yourself that this is the year you become more efficient and make use of your amazing colleagues who have blazed the trails before you.

If you school doesn’t already provide you with tracking forms, lessson plan templates, or conference planners, I’m sharing with you here some amazing, FREE options that are available online. The best part – these are forms that you can type directly into.

  • Student Tracking Forms: With daily, weekly, or class period options in addition to a completely blank form for you to customize, you can easily track everything from attendance to homework to lunch orders.
  • Lesson Plan Templates: Includes 6 format options: Snapshot Lesson Plan, Weekly Lesson Plan, Traditional Lesson Plan, Self-Contained Classroom Daily Plan, Thematic Planner, Unit Planner
  • Parent Conference Planners: Six different planning templates to help prepare for parent-teacher conferences: Traditional Parent Teacher Conference,  Referral for Student Services Conference, Portfolio Review Conference, Student-led Conference (teacher planner), Student-led Conference (student planner), and Parent Planner

Looking for something more specific? There are thousands of amazing teacher-created materials out there online – and many of them are free! Here are some excellent sources that I check when looking for resources:

P.S. While you’re browsing those resources, you may start thinking to yourself, “Hey, I have great lessons of my own!” Why not take some time to format the lessons and create your own shop on one or more of these sites. Don’t be intimidated – you don’t need hundreds of lessons (although you certainly go that route if you’re inclined).  Personally, with 21 products in shops on Syllabuy and Teachers Pay Teachers, I earned about $500 last year. That was enough to take the family on a weekend getaway – just by sharing things I had already created for my own use! So, while you’re looking to avoid recreating the wheel in your classroom and saving yourself some time – why not get your ideas out there and do the same for someone else… and make a little cash too.

Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser

Leigh Anne has experience as a Middle School and Early Childhood educator in multi-age and traditional classrooms. She obtained a BA in Elementary Education from Mercyhurst University in addition to an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Gannon University where she also served an adjunct lecturer specializing in portfolio development.


Leigh Anne served as the Director of Curriculum and Programming for The Ophelia Project where she authored original curriculum on school climate and bullying prevention. Currently, she is the owner and director of Curriculum Solution Center which provides quality professional development and curriculum consultation services for PreK-12 schools. She also is a webinar leader and ambassador for Simple K12 Teacher Learning Community and a Professional

Devleopment Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition.


About Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser

Leigh Anne has experience as a Middle School and Early Childhood educator in multi-age and traditional classrooms. She obtained a BA in Elementary Education from Mercyhurst University in addition to an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Gannon University where she also served an adjunct lecturer specializing in portfolio development.

Leigh Anne served as the Director of Curriculum and Programming for The Ophelia Project where she authored original curriculum on school climate and bullying prevention. Currently, she is the owner and director of Curriculum Solution Center which provides quality professional development and curriculum consultation services for PreK-12 schools. She also is a webinar leader and ambassador for Simple K12 Teacher Learning Community and a Professional
Devleopment Specialist for the Council for Professional Recognition.

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