Let’s face it, while printable resources can save a TON of lesson plan time, sometimes those same resources can take a lot of prep time in order to use them. Printing, cutting, laminating, stapling, binding, hole punching, the list can go on and on…
If you are familiar with my store, than you know that I like to create all sorts of music resources. Many of the resources that I use whether its something I made or something I purchased require printing and other mundane tasks. I wanted to share 6 tips to help you save on some of that prep time so it’s not cutting into too much of your precious time.
This is one of my favorite (and most popular) ways to use as a time saver. Cutting, hole-punching and laminating are “mindless” activities that are perfect for multi-tasking. Listen to a webinar, watch TV, watch or listen to an online course or podcast… I’ve have even been known to take my projects in the car on a road trip.
There is always opportunities to delegate simple tasks like printing, cutting and laminating. Do you have a student that enjoys being around you and really enjoys helping? Have them be a student helper by asking if they want to stay an extra 10-15 min after their lesson or class. How about a parent asking if there is anything they can do? Send them home with some projects they can prep for you. How about your children when they are just watching TV, or your husband? I help my husband fill DVD cases after he shoots an event. I don’t mind doing that for him and we usually do it together when we are watching TV. There are opportunities to delegate and many people are usually more than willing to help out!
Not all printable resources need to be printed. Most of them in fact can be used digitally. My favorite ways to “digitize” resources is to project them from the projector or use them on the iPad or computer. Here is an example of my students practicing their rhythm clap backs before we play the I Have Who Has Rhythm Clap Back Game. I could have printed each page out and showed them the clap backs that way, but it wasn’t necessary. If I was doing this during a private lesson, I could easily add the pdf file to my iPad and have them clap back through the iPad instead.
Fill the Dead Space
There are so many times throughout the day that is simply dead space. This is the time that we naturally check our email, look at Facebook, etc… So how about the next time a student is late or doesn’t show up or is doing some independent work that you take advantage of that time? Fill the dead space into something productive.
Before you even choose your resource, plan your lesson ahead. Figure out exactly what resources you will need and how long you will be spending on it. I know I am guilty of thinking I’m going to get through so much more than I actually do. But when I sit down and map a schedule out figuring how long a resource might take to use, it ends up saving me some of my prep time that I might have wasted on a resource we never got around to using. Now a lot of those resources we didn’t get to use will hopefully get used in the future, but why not focus on what you need now?
The great thing about printable resources is they come to you in a digital format. Which means you have two ways of organizing them. I like to put my resources into digital folders first. These are separated into categories such as Ear Training, Rhythm, Sight-Reading and so on. Then once they are printed, I have specific spots they go. I have an accordion folder, drawers and bookshelves. My goal this summer is to create a spreadsheet of all my games so I can easily glance at what I have and plan from there. Be on the lookout for that freebie in the June newsletter coming soon!
Are Printable Resources Really Worth It?
Printable Resources are SO worth it! I don’t want you to finish reading this post thinking negatively about printable resources at all. While printable resources can take a lot of prep time, they don’t always need to when we are smart about it. Even though I make a lot of my resources I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the resources I purchase. The time they save me in lesson planning and just plain old creativity outweighs the prep time that some of them might take. PLUS the kids love the games, worksheets and programs! And remember, once they are printed and prepped you can use them over and over again!
I hope these tips gave you some ideas on how to manage your prep time better so it’s not eating up all your free time.
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Thanks for a great article! When I need help, I always have students begging to cut things for me. I LOVE my printable resources. Even though digital can be easy and work well, there are so many uses for the printable ones and if you make them durable and organize them, it is wonderful.
I love my printable resources too! While digital is good too, it is always great to have those hands on activities for students.