How to Accomplish More Effective Lesson Planning

How to Accomplish More Effective Lesson Planning

effective lesson planning

Every year, I get so excited about lesson planning and what I am going to do differently and better this time around.  I contemplate how this new year will be full of more effective lesson planning than the year before. And every year, by the time I am a month in, I am just trying to make everything work.

I've been lesson planning for 23 years now.  For the first few years, it steadily improved and became easier the more I did it.  But I have to admit, the later years have gotten much drier than the earlier years.  I think part of it was because I feel like I am not learning the process anymore.  So I just kind of go into auto-pilot mode.  And it doesn't take very long into the school year to see the fruits of that problem.

So this year, I started to think of ways that I could keep things fresh, new, and exciting.  I did some research online and came up with a few things to help make my lesson planning more effective.

So I came up with these ways to accomplish more effective lesson planning.  I hope that you find them helpful as well.

1.  Remember that you are Teaching and Relating to People

Sometimes we get so focused on the plans and getting through them completely (which actually never happens anyway) that we forget we are actually relating to people.  We forget that each one of our students came from a complex life of other relationships, difficulties of many different magnitudes, different levels of health, and so many things that we have no idea about.

We have an opportunity to relate to each one of our students in ways that can help give them strength to succeed in their difficulties, feel like someone is listening to them, and help them develop skills and mindsets that propel them to a successful life.  Will it be us that makes them successful?  Definitely not.  That is up to them.  But we can certainly help them along the way.

So how does more effective lesson planning play into this?  We can plan activities into our lesson plans that keep in mind that our students are not one-dimensional.  They aren't just in school to take in information, pass tests, and then go home.  They are there to learn how successful life is lived.  We are great tools in that endeavor.

We don't want to add a bunch of fluff into our lesson plans for the sake of adding stuff.  But we can be careful that the things we are planning show sensitivity to issues our students may be facing.  And we can make sure that we also give them the tools to succeed in life, regardless of what they are and will be facing.

If we make sure that most or all of our plans have these thoughts built into them, we will have super-human strength in character building and life skills.

2.  Maintain Continuity in your Lessons

Most of my education as I was growing up was given to me in daily independent lessons.  After several weeks of this, I then would take a test of all of the material.  It drove me crazy trying to remember what I had learned in the first couple of weeks.  So I would spend the last couple of weeks cramming to see how much of the independent lessons I could pull up from the back of my mind.

Then, as an adult, I discovered incremental education.  My world was rocked.  Spending time on a new lesson every day without a bunch of overkill worksheets was amazing.  But even more amazing, I saw the value of spending a significant amount of time daily doing one or two review exercises from several previous lessons.

My students were able to remember the concepts they were learning because they were working on them daily for several weeks until they were set in stone.  And when it came time for testing, they performed well without all of the cramming and stress. This is one of the best ways to make lesson planning more effective, because it cuts down on so much time in the long run.

We have the ability as lesson planners to do this for our students.  Even if it isn't written into the curriculum, you can still implement ten minutes of review of the past week or two.  And if you have to cut off the last row of the current day's exercises, your kids will think  you're the bomb and that they are getting away with something!

3.  Always Include Something Memorable in your Lessons

Memorable doesn't always have to be huge or expensive.  It is usually brought on by the senses.  So with that knowledge in mind, we can plan our lessons by using various senses for various activities.  It can be the smell of something related to the story or concept, an unusual sight, a tasty (or not-so-tasty) bit of food, something that feels different than normal experience, or something that sounds a certain way.  Adding two or more senses at a time drastically increases the memorable factor!

Literature is one of the best avenues for this type of lesson planning. This is because the best books are filled with experiences, dimensional characters, and memorable scenery.

You can add this concept to literally every subject you teach.  Foreign language lessons can use rich cultures to bring home points using all of the senses.

Math can use examples that require the children to figure out real-life concepts through real-life examples using physical or experiential props to drive home the process.  For example, use a dramatic story to show the kids a math problem.  Guide them through the story, using objects that appeal to the senses in order to help them remember the problem they are trying to solve.  Then guide them to the solution.  They will have a whole range of experience to remember what they have learned, rather than just trying to remember a mathematical process.  And not only does this help them to remember concepts better, it also makes their school day so much more enjoyable.

4.  Simple is always better

So I realize that what I've said so far seems complicated. But get in the habit of keeping these concepts in mind as you do your lesson planning. Then you will find it is quite easy to implement.

And that is where this point takes us.  The more simple you keep your object lessons, concepts, and facts, the more quickly and easily your students will be able to pick them up and retain them.

Most concepts can actually be made even more simple.  Here are some examples:

  • A picture to explain a process that is harder to see in words than pictures
  • A store-bought snack instead of the homemade version
  • A craft that allows you to combine your literature class with your art class for the week
  • A game that gets the kids' energy out so that they will settle in for the lesson.  Once you drive the relationship of the game to the lesson home, they will be more eager to hear the lesson and draw their own conclusions.

5.  Always Keep Your Goal in Mind

This is probably the most obvious of the ways to accomplish more effective lesson planning.  We get several hours every day to fill with great academic endeavors. But our goal is not to just fill time.

Keep in mind exactly what you want your students to learn.  Then figure out which ways you think will accomplish that most effectively and quickly.  When you plan your academics and activities around this concept, your lesson planning will go much more smoothly.  And so will your class routine.

You will still run out of time every day.  But hopefully, you will have driven home many more concepts. And hopefully you have shown your students that learning doesn't have to be boring or tedious.  And by keeping your students actively engaged in their learning, you will have fewer distractions or behavior issues with the kids, which will enable you to accomplish even more.

Conclusion

Implementing these concepts into your classroom will change lots of things for the better.  Your students will be excited every day to see what is in store for them.  What an amazing classroom when your students are engaged in an enthusiastic way!  You may even gain some lifelong lovers of learning.

By the way, if you are looking for a good planner (or a better one than you have at the moment), the Bloom Daily Planner is my favorite and is available here on Amazon.

For some other great lesson planning concepts, click on these options:

How Long Should Lesson Planning Take?

Seven Styles of Learning & How They Apply to Your Students

This Post Has 65 Comments

  1. Amber Myers

    I don’t homeschool, but this is super helpful for those who do. I wouldn’t have the patience for it since I already curse a ton when I’m helping with homework.

  2. Cristina Petrini

    Don’t need to be a teacher to fully and completely appreciate your interesting articles!

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Cristina. A lot of these articles can apply well to family life and homework as well. 🙂

  3. Juicer Reviews Pro

    Lesson planning is an important part of teaching. Sometimes kids get bored by following one teaching routine and adding a game that gets the kids’ energy out so that they will settle in for the lesson is quite impressive.

  4. Nyxinked

    I think having memorable moments in teaching is everything. I still remember some of things my teachers told us based on their funny stories that made it all relateable.

  5. annalisanuttall

    I got a friend who is studying to be a teacher – this post helps him a lot. Will show him this next time we meet. xx

  6. I teach on an irregular basis and what I find helps to avoid that dryness is to take things on a creative angel. Tell the story in a different way or use different props to bring about important points. Also, drive home unexpected lessons.

  7. Laura G

    I think that focusing on one easy point to remember, is the best way to captivate the students. It will make the lessons so much easier to remember!

  8. amber23308

    This is incredibly helpful information for those in the educational field. I have a few friends who get a lot of use out of this.

  9. anna mulljon

    Your article has proven useful to me. It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area.

  10. Cristina Pop

    I love your tips. I usually try and apply them in my day to day life!

  11. Eloise

    these are great tips for any educator. I agree with how chaotic independent lessons piling up can be. Memeorable lessons are always the easiest to remember and understand ; )
    great advice!

  12. Mommy Sigrid

    There is a renewed love and concern for teachers in our country today. Although late, I am happy that they are getting some attention. It’s not easy to work on lessons. Judging from what you written, I do not have the patience! haha

  13. Tisha

    What a great post to encourage teachers with their lesson planning! I am so grateful for the teachers that poured into my life and now into my kid’s lives. Keep going teachers!

  14. Christine G.

    These are fantastic ideas for lesson planning. I especially love using books for all subjects as I agree it promotes critical thinking.

  15. Susan1375

    I was taught to create 20 minutes of new info per lesson and the rest of the time was spent reinforcing that 20 minutes of info

  16. leah

    these are all great suggestions. I totally can relate to adding something memorable. that is what I remember most from my school years!

  17. These are great tips for those in the education field and some of the tips can be applied in other areas in life too! Having a clear goal is always good.

  18. Matt Taylor

    Those are all great ideas. Although I am not a traditional teacher, I teach people how to do things on YouTube, so this will definitely apply to me as well.

  19. Brianne

    I absolutely love reading your ideas, especially now that I’ve decided to keep the kids home this year. This is going to really help me.

  20. Claudia

    This is going to be such a great resource for both teachers and homeschoolers. My kids are out of school, but I can’t imagine trying to put together a lesson plan without some serious guidance like this.

  21. the joyous living

    I have a feeling more parents will be checking out your website as they have to help with learning at home. good luck to all the teachers out there who have to figure out lesson plans for their online classes.

  22. Love having teachers who put so much thought into their lesson plans. Agree esp. on the point re: continuity. I love having those recaps at the start of the class before we jump into the next lesson.

  23. Nkem

    Thanks for reminding me that school is starting soon and I’ll have to get back to lesson planning soon! I love the advice of keeping it simple and remembering we are relating to actual people.

  24. Sundeep

    Indeed! If this is going to implement by all teachers then students will be surely more excited every day to see what is in store for them.

  25. Marya

    Great content, now I know every teacher didn’t have much holiday because they should think about lesson planning when the students on holiday. And in these pandemics times, Teachers should think more about their lesson planning because many schools all over the world serve online teaching. Thanks for sharing, teacher!

  26. Gervin Khan

    I am not a teacher but I really do appreciate how hard to be in that situation and your article helps me to understand that. Thanks for these tips, I can share this with my friends who are in the fields of teaching.

  27. This plan is amazing not just for the teachers! I like the approach to communicating the ideas that can be memorable.

  28. shruti

    Right now an effective lesson planning is the need of the hour. With corona on the rise, students are home bound. A good lesson plan will be beneficial for both students and teachers

  29. Rhea Evangelista

    I could imagine it’s hard to be prepared for the avalanche of lesson planning. Times is changing and so do kids interest. I agree with your first point, Learning styles is different from each individual. Re-assessing our teaching practice every now and then will help our lessons to be delivered effectively.

  30. Papa Jack

    This is super helpful for our teachers. I am a teacher by heart. This will absolutely revolutionize their lesson planning techniques.

  31. Michelle

    Yes, to all your key points. I think these strategies can be implemented no matter the age of the audience. My college students need the repetition and connection to the material as much as my 5 year old. Thx for sharing your info!

    1. Marie

      I fully agree with your age assessment, Michelle! Even for adults it is relatively the same.

  32. rachel

    Maintaining continuity and simplicity is the ONE thing I really strive to do.

    1. Marie

      Those were lifesavers for me in the difficult times, Rachel! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  33. Steven Morrissette

    That was interesting planing techniques. Good articles.

  34. Emman Damian

    Effective Lesson Planning is difficult to do. Thanks for the tips! I can use it in the future.

  35. Rose Ann Sales

    These are all great and effective tips. Thanks for sharing. !

  36. Chei

    These are all great tips and very interesting lesson plan. Thanks for sharing.

  37. My Kitchen

    Non examination classes will open next year because there has being an increase in the covid deaths so I’m homeschooling my son.this will be helpful.

    1. Marie

      I am so glad that it will be helpful for you! I know schools are also working hard at helping parents with planning. I hope that as rough a year as this is going to be that parents are able to use this year as a great time with their kids, in the easy and the hard!

  38. I found myself nodding in agreement while reading through this post. In particular, I loved the tip to implement ten minutes of review to help students recall what was learned earlier in the curriculum. Anything that assists students to understand difficult concepts easier via effective lesson planning will surely lead to better results in the class overall.

  39. Pati Robins

    i have actually just sent a link to this blog post to my teacher friend , it be her first year as a teacher so im sure she will find it helpful

  40. Joanna

    Keeping it simple is the key in so many things, not just lesson planning. When you keep something simple, it is so much easier to understand.

  41. thehappymommie

    Have recently started homeschooling my kid, this is surely going to help me. Thanks

  42. Emily Fata

    These are all such great ideas for more effective lesson planning! I definitely agree that establishing continuity is extremely important.

  43. Jon (bitwy)

    We’re doing online learning with our kid for the first month of the school year. These tips are helpful.

  44. Kileen

    These tips are so wonderful! I’m sure teachers and educators would find this extremely useful! Thank you for sharing these tips!

    Kileen
    cute & little

  45. Gervin Khan

    Wow! I’m so amaze on these ideas, they are simply the best. I’ve relate with it instantly.

  46. the joyous living

    as always, a good list of suggestions and ideas. i smiled when i read your suggestion to teach math problems with a dramatic story. i remember in high school i had an SAT vocabulary book series that taught different subjects like Math and Sciences.

  47. Mariska

    Wow, I don’t homeschool my daughter, and if I would ever go that route, I would need help;) You can see how passionate you are about teaching, and I love how you give points about making things memorable!! These are the lessons that stick!

  48. MrsX

    I’ve only started homeschooling this year due to the pandemic. I get nervous that I’m not doing enough. Thank you for all the pointers, This really is a life saver.

  49. Lucy Clarke

    It is truly important to ensure lessons will have a more lasting impact in the children’s memories. It’s great reading about how it is done at school so we can use it for follow through activities at home.

  50. Sedija

    Thank you for sharing these great planning techniques. Although I am not a teacher, this inspired me to work on my own ways of learning new things.

  51. Jasmine Martin

    By connecting with people and including something memorable, it’ll definitely help a lot within making the information taught the students stick within their minds.

  52. Czardilyn Buyawe

    I am an instructor before but I quit and be an online freelancer. I know sometimes doing a lesson plan is a little bit making me crazy. I can relate much to this post

  53. Emily

    Great ways to accomplish an effective lesson plan. I Especially like the idea about making the lesson memorable.

  54. Bindu Thomas

    Supercool home teaching. Loved the way you presented this

  55. Monidipa

    One of my friends is a teacher, from her I have heard lesson planning takes time, still, I’ll share it with her. It might help her!

  56. Ambuj

    I guess while teaching its important to make each lesson or class memorable as you have mentioned!

  57. Emman Damian

    I think we should Maintain Continuity in your Lessons. Also, consistency is the key. As much as possible, stick with the same plan as before which works best.

  58. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    This was quite helpful. I’m more of a lets just wing it type of person so this was really good for me.

  59. Both my parents were head teachers of different schools and now my sister has also joined this profession. For the last few weeks, I have been sharing your lesson plan and other teaching ideas with them and my parents are so impressed with you 🙂 Thanks again for sharing a wonderful and helpful article with us ❤️

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