Planning to Lesson Plan
One of the most important tasks of teachers is making lesson plans, which serve as blueprints for the school day. Veteran teachers have experience creating new lesson plans as well as a collection of existing ones they know are effective. But as a new teacher, you have a bit more work to do, building your lesson plan collection from scratch. Here are six tips for how, as a first-year teacher, you can make sure your lesson planning is efficient and successful.
1. Research Lesson Plans
Before you can create effective lesson plans of your own, you’ll have to be familiar with what a lesson plan – and a good lesson plan in particular – looks like. Ask veteran teachers’ opinions on what makes an effective lesson plan. Search the Internet and consult any other available resources. Determine what you think would work and what wouldn’t work and what you like and dislike in others’ lesson plans, then come up with several examples of your own.
2. Find a Go-To Resource
In addition to creating your own lesson plans, you’ll sometimes have to (and want to) rely on existing ones to use either as inspiration or in their entirety. As you do your research (Tip #1) take note of which lesson planning resources you trust the most. Before you’re done with this step, file one or two away as a go-to resource you can turn to when you need a trustworthy lesson plan fast.
3. Make a Template
To avoid repeating the same work over and over again during the lesson plan development process, create or adapt a lesson plan template. In addition to saving you time, this will remind you of all of the necessary elements you want to include in your lesson plans, as well as help you understand the lesson plans as you use them during class. Since you’ll already be familiar with the format of each lesson plan, you’ll know how to read it and put it into action without needing to decode the plan’s configuration.
4. Focus on the Objective
It’s ultimately up to you which lesson plan elements you’re going to use, but the one you can’t afford to discard or miss is the objective. Each lesson plan you teach should have a learning outcome, a goal, or a lesson objective – whatever you want to call it – that guides you as you teach. Each element should then contribute to the objective, a goal you’ll want to make sure is met by the time the lesson plan has been completely executed.
5. Differentiate Early and Often
Differentiated learning might sound fancy and advanced, something you may not be ready to include in your lesson plans as a new teacher. In fact, it is more basic than you think, and something that we even view as necessary to include. As you know, any class you teach will include students on different levels, and you’ll want to be proactive about reaching all of them, from the ones who struggle to the ones who need to be challenged. In addition to the main activities, each lesson plan should include extensions or scaffolding for the different levels of students in your classroom.
6. Assess and Reflect
As a new teacher, part of the lesson planning process is what comes after the lesson is over, that is gathering feedback and then reflecting upon and revising your lesson plan. Your plans should include an assessment or a reflection at the end that allows you to track how successful the plan was so that you know whether or not you want to file it away for future use as is, edit it, or scrap it entirely. Feedback of all types will be helpful for this process, including from yourself, from students, and from other teachers or administrators during observations.
By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to steadily building a lesson plan library that you can take with you throughout your long and successful teaching career to come.
For more tips and resources about lesson planning, check out our blog posts