Planning for two classes and with children with a variety of needs can be kind of tricky, but once you find the system that works for you it goes much more smoothly. This is something else that has taken a lot of trial and error and time!
Then, I go through and label in blue or black activities I had wanted to do the last year and never got the chance too. I made a little note here of what is what.
Once I have my must haves down I go through month by month and jot down the fine motor and academic/ language activity for that day on a calendar.
Then, I fill in my lesson plan. How do I differentiate? I am fortunate that my young students 2.5-3ish are in the am and the pm is the class that is 3.5-5. The pm class has also been with me for a year already. So when deciding activities for the pm class I already have an idea of what they know, what they don't and what they could really work on. The am class I have 5 returning students this year so even for half of them I have an idea of what they are able to do independently and not. A lot of times I may do two different activities for the am and pm or simplify or make the activity more challenging if I want to do it for both.
That is also what I do in the am or pm activity. I simplify or make it more difficult depending on the center group. I group my students in centers by ability, but this changes depending on what we are doing that day. One group may be able to write the letters or numbers, the second group may be able to trace, and with the third group I may have to do hand over hand or not have them do the writing portion at all. When doing a language activity (flip and stamp words for example) The one group may try to repeat the word, the next group may identify the word, and the last group may be doing a simple sentence. All the students do the same activity, but just differently.
Once I have the lesson plan created I place the papers/ activities we are doing directly behind it. That way if there is a sub they know what we are doing too.
I keep everything in a binder. I have found this works best for me. I like it because everything is in one place and when I go to create my lesson plans for the next year I know what I liked, didn't (I keep stickies on the the lesson plan of never do again, do with pm next year, etc.), and what I would change slightly. I also don't repeat activities too much for the kiddos that will be with me for three years.
If you have any other questions please feel free to ask! Do you have any planning tricks that work great for you?!