The Best Lesson Planning

The Best Lesson Planning

best lesson planning

I was thinking the other day about what makes the best lesson planning.  One of my favorite things is lesson planning. I love looking online and thinking through the process. And I enjoy planning how I will make the chapter I just read come alive for my students.

But I also hate lesson planning. Often in my search for the perfect lesson that reaches every student one of two things happens.  I either fall short or have to re-invent the wheel. Or it takes way too many hours of searching to come up with the perfect ideas.

Another problem I frequently encounter is coming up with the “perfect” idea in my head. Then upon researching, I find that the resources to make it happen are either too expensive or largely unavailable. Back to the beginning.

I am excited to be able to put together some of my best literature lesson planning from the past 25 years. And now I have made it available for teachers that love to lesson plan but don’t have enough time to start from scratch. And the best part is that each teacher can take what I have done and put their own twist/style on it to make it their very own. Or they can choose to keep it the way it is and run with it.

Let me share with you a few of the emphases that I placed on my program that has made it so well-loved by students, parents, and teachers alike.

Great Classroom Reading

Dramatic reading that is dramatic but not over the top is the best!  Middle school students love drama, but not so much when it is overdone.  Many of the books we have done have some very well done recordings.  And my students always preferred that to just reading in class. My all-time favorite one was actually from a Sunday School program.  It was Pilgrim's Progress by a company called Great Commissions.  I don't get any commissions for recommending them, but they are amazing.

But unfortunately, not all books come with great dramatic reading recordings.  And for those, we must get creative.  But what I have learned is that it is also a great opportunity.  Many times, doing a book that doesn't have a great recording right after a book that did is such good material for teaching the students to do their own great quality reading.  We talk about what made those recordings so good for them.  And then we list on the board some ways that they could implement that into their own readings with the class.

I have never recorded a session of this with the students, but I think that may be a great future activity and I plan to.  I think that it may be the icing on the cake for the students to record their own dramatic readings of books after enjoying listening to professional recordings.

Differentiation

Most American classrooms have 20 or more students.  That means you teach myriad personalities from myriad backgrounds and myriad styles.  One size does not fit all.  And somehow, you need to figure out a way to keep them all engaged, happy, and well-taught.

Implementing most if not all of the students' favorite things into your school day every day is a must.  It is the thing that helps each one of them to see significance in their school day.  (Plus it helps them to see that you care about them.  You aren't just collecting a paycheck.)  It helps them to remember key things you are trying to teach them.  And it makes their school experience a positive thing that they will take with them into adulthood.

And that is where variety (or differentiation) comes in.  Some kids love just reading.  And some kids love crafting and exercising their creativity.  Some kids love games.  And yet, some kids even love filling out worksheets and crossword puzzles, word finds, and other written activities.  And ALL kids love food!

But while the kids will love this approach, implementing all of it can also be very time consuming.  There is generally not one place you can look to find everything you need to assemble your school program.  So the research to turn your vision into reality can take a significant chunk of time.  And that takes us to our next point.

Finding Time

There are not enough hours in a day for anybody!  Parents, teachers, even students frequently think about how much easier life would be with more hours in a day.

And one of the good problems I have often noticed in curriculum is that there is too much of a good thing.  There are so many great options to use add to to your daily lessons to reinforce them.  But unfortunately, there aren't enough hours in a school day.  So the teacher must learn to get creative with her schedule.

Doubling up on projects/activities can be key to reinforcing lessons and being able to "fit more" into your school day.  Obviously, you aren't actually fitting more into your day.  But having a craft to reinforce a character lesson in literature allows you to take care of art for the class period while also being able to revisit the lesson learned in literature.

There are many other ways to double up on subjects in order to gain extra class periods to drive your points home.  If you are an elementary school teacher that teaches your own P.E. classes, you could implement a themed race/game time from you literature lessons.  The kids will love a game of tag where they are being chased down by the White Witch.

 Doing your lesson planning with that in mind can do wonders for finding extra time in your day.

At the end of the day, it is your classroom and your vision. It is awesome to be able to do whatever you want without having to put in hours/days weekly to make it a reality. And the best part is you don't have to lose your creative control.

For some great ideas that will streamline your lesson planning, click to see the curriculum/activity choices in this Sample Chapter from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

This Post Has 59 Comments

  1. Such awesome tips for teachers, I’ll pass this onto my teacher friends. You’re so awesome. Hope you have an amazing weekend!

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Krysten! You too!

  2. crisshex88

    In my opinion, all teachers should read your blog, if they would surely do it, schools would be better!

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Cristina!

  3. Rupal Srivastava

    These are all such great tips! I will pass this along to few people who I know will benefit from this.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Rupal!

  4. Katrina Sisk

    What a wonderful resource for all teachers and mentors. Your willingness to share your many years of experience with others is so admirable and appreciated.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Katrina!

  5. These tips can really help a teachers performance in classroom. Great article

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Shruti!

  6. flawlessfooduk

    In the UK we have about 30 children to a class! I don’t know how the teachers do it!? Must take a lot of planning. I love The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That’s a great Sample Chapter, so much time and effort to create it all.

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Michaela! This program was the product of several years of teaching and tweaking it as my students responded to the program. It was a lot of fun to watch it evolve over the years.

  7. Lyosha Varezhkina

    it is a very useful information for any teacher or mentor. nicely written post

    1. Marie

      Thank you, Lyosha.

  8. Susan1375

    Some great tips, your articles are always helpful

  9. Ceci Rey

    Such great advice. Lesson planning can be so important…thanks for sharing! 👓💖📸🍕🚢

  10. Candace Hampton

    I know I say this all the time – but I have no idea how teachers do what they do. The passion is absolutely incredible. These are awesome suggestions to keep students engaged. I’m sure these suggestions will be so helpful to many!

  11. Nyxinked

    EXcellent advice. I’ll have to pass this onto my sister!

  12. natalielovesbeauty

    This made me realize how much planning teachers actually have to do for their lessons. You provide some very valuable tips!

  13. One of the hardest things I cope with is planning day 1 lecturers because I don’t know the students yet. I try to keep my classrooms transformational and interest-based learning. When we try to create lesson plans that are one-size fits all, we’re going to end up disadvantaging some of the students.

  14. ayishiatravels

    Great post! I especially love your suggestions for how to maximize your time. Efficiency is key when you can’t seem to find enough hours in your day and combining lessons sounds like just the way to do it.

  15. Rosey Marie

    Food is a win for my tween/teen students. Even the class that comes in after lunch. A portfolio helps me differentiate and I am really seeing the benefits from both this year

    1. Marie

      I think food is a win for everybody! It’s just super fun. I am glad to hear about the things that are working for you, Rosey. Thank you for sharing with me!

  16. Peachy A.

    These are such great tips for teachers who are thinking of an effective way on how to do lesson planning.

  17. Colleen

    I’m not a teacher, but this was really helpful for me. I’ll be a teacher this year because I’m keeping my kids at home.

  18. GiGi Eats

    I love your differentiation approach to making students feel individually special!

  19. Bill

    My wife and I are tag-teaming this year with our kids because we’re opting to keep them home. This is going to be SUCH a huge help.

  20. Bella

    These are such great plans, it makes such a big difference for sure. I will have to share this with my friend shes a teacher!

  21. Mosaics Lab

    I love these amazing plans! I love how creative these ideas are, perfect and really the best.

  22. Matt Taylor

    Those are some great ideas and strategies for lesson planning. My dad was a teacher for 32 years, I remember the endless hours he put into his lesson plans.

  23. JP

    These all sound like a good lesson plan and wow you’ve been teaching for 25 years.

  24. TheHappyMommie

    Covid has made both teacher and mothers life difficult, this post has so much insight for teaching , will be sharing this with my teacher friends! Thanks!

  25. Sundeep

    I am having one or two teacher friends. I am sharing with them. And this will definitely going to help them in giving online classes. Thanks for sharing the article with us

  26. catherine santiago jose

    Nice tips and a great way to help to all teachers on doing their lessons plan. I will share this with my friends who are also an educator.

  27. Gervin Khan

    This is so nice. These tips are really usable especially in this quarantine.

  28. Lucy Clarke

    Love all the tips here… Especially the part where you are making a conscious effort to include activities that appeal to what your learners are fond of. It really makes the learning experience more enjoyable.

  29. Mae

    These are very helpful tips for teachers!

  30. Shannon

    You always have the best ideas for teachers! So well organized and executed. I always share your blogs with my sister who is a learning support teacher.

  31. tweenselmom

    Lesson planning may be a bit stressful for teachers, so I’m glad you shared these tips with us. Thank you for this helpful article!

  32. Hhhhmmmm…it gets very tricky, I imagine, when you share with your colleagues on how you plan and execute your lessons. Then, sometimes, even the learners don’t like how you do it as much.

  33. Bhuvi

    You are awesome. Such a great tips for teacher. Thanks and Keep posting like this tips.

  34. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    I actually read through everything because I need to learn how to make this happen with my son.

  35. The Joyous Living

    as always – what a great post! I am totally passing this along to my girlfriend who is a teacher grappling with the new normal at school (aka. online)

  36. A really helpful post for those who do homeschooling. Such organization can save a ton of time.

  37. Heidi

    Great tips for teachers! I bet there are people who needed this!

  38. chei

    This is so helpful tips! We all really need this lesson planning for the online class. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Emman Damian

    Ample time should be given during lesson planning. Also, be organized. Make sure all reference materials are in place.

  40. Ambuj Saxena

    I have been following your posts around learning and better teaching methods and I have to say that this post is another feather in the cap! You are making teaching and learning, an enjoyable experience!

  41. Maysz

    this tips would help a lot for all of teachers Planning lessons are really helpful for teaching guide. Nice post!

  42. Lashunta

    Great tips. So important to plan ahead. This upcoming school year will be unique so the better the planning will help lessen stress.

  43. Khushboo

    This is a helpful post gir the teachers. Planning lessons is helpful for teaching

  44. These are some great tips for teachers! Sharing this article with my teacher cousins n friends now ☺

    1. Marie

      Thank you!

  45. Sushmita

    Really helpful tips for teachers. Sharing with my teacher friends 🙂

  46. katrina Kroeplin

    i love this. great tips. i’m passing this over to a few teachers that i know., as it will def help them out.

  47. World in Eyes

    lesson planning is the most important and essential need..indeed these tips and ideas are so damn useful for every of reader..glad you shared these with us…

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