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Charity Preston's picture
Charity Preston, M.A., is a national presenter, consultant and author. She has completed studies in gifted training, cooperative learning and differentiation, as well as a master's degree in...
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Lesson Planning Tips

Lesson planning can be an art form~ if done properly. For too many teachers~ lesson planning can be the black hole of a week - taking several hours out of planning time. Or leaving no planning time~ so the lessons~ teacher editions~ materials~ etc. are toted home to be done in front of Thursday night primetime television. For seasoned teachers~ the lessons may not take as long~ but they are stale. These lessons need some serious updating. For all teachers~ new and veteran~ I encourage a plan of action to envision interesting lessons that benefit the students~ but are not time consumers to create.

Make sure to start each plan with the same lesson plan template. Many free templates can be found online. Purchasing a lesson plan book is also an option. Or creating your own template in a word processing program could also be done. Whichever way you decide~ make sure to stick to that template each and every time to create a few shortcuts each week. After deciding upon the template~ make sure you have all the necessary teacher editions~ materials~ and resources in one spot to create the plans. If you are constantly moving from location to location to pick up and return materials and books~ you are wasting valuable work time.

When you are ready to begin planning~ use a master calendar to input any major events or changes to the schedule for that week~ such as student birthday celebrations or assemblies. Next~ add in the specials schedule. After that~ place all weekly recurring events into your plans. This could be lunch (everyday)~ silent reading time~ weekly assessments~ daily read alouds~ morning work~ etcetera. Now~ when you look at your plans~ you should have only chunks to fill in. Immediately~ you have created only pieces in which to fill in~ and you have only been working for ten minutes!

Finally~ the last step in your planning is to quickly review materials~ websites~ resources~ and old lessons from each chapter or section of the subject area you will be covering that week. From there~ you should have a pretty good idea of how to cover the material. You may need to review your basal and look for new ideas that have not been tried yet. Or~ you may look for a new interactive whiteboard lesson that is already created for the concept you will be teaching. Attempt to position in at least one new idea from previous years' lessons for a little variety for yourself and for the students. Each subject area should only take 10 minutes or so to create if you are quickly staying on task~ and not getting bogged down in scouring every website on the internet. In total~ your plans should take no longer than 30-45 minutes to complete. If you are spending more time than that~ you are not using time effectively~ or are not keeping good files of materials previously used. If the lessons are taking considerably less time~ maybe they need to be a little more creative or interactive. You want to be excited to teach them!

Lesson planning should not be a chore that is dreaded each week~ but rather an exciting opportunity to create lessons that involve students. It should instill a love for learning and teaching for all involved. Have fun and get planning!

Charity Preston - The Organized Classroom