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Teacher Friends!

In my last post, I shared some BIG mistakes I made with lesson planning during my first few years teaching.  Ah!  Don’t tell anyone mmmkay?

First of all, lesson planning is a journey.  It’s going to change.  However, it will always be there.  You NEED it.  You NEED to know the WHAT of your objectives….of the skills you are teaching…so you can set kids up for success.

Today, I’ll be sharing what I have done.  I hope it helps.  xo, April!  If you have any questions or ideas on what makes YOUR lesson planning easier, please share in the comments below. 🙂  And if you need a teacher planner and binder ready-to-go and personalize to fit your needs, check out the selection HERE.  I’m especially excited about my newest resources here with over 45 design covers, which you can find HERE.

Lesson Planning Steps


Step Number ONE: Start with the end in mind.

Have you ever heard of “backwards design”?  Backwards Design is the idea that you start with the end in mind.  Where do you want the kids to go?  WHAT do you want the kids to learn?  Do they need to know one-digit addition or two-digit addition?  Do they need to know about classroom communities or local communities?

Now, stay with me here….you start with the objectives/standards–whatever your state calls them.  This is the only way to know the WHAT of your  teaching.

Step Number TWO: Look at the verbs in the objectives.  For example, if the standard is “Ask and Answer questions of unknown words in text” (Kindergarten CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K4) you know they have to “ASK” and “ANSWER”.  For example, if it said “LOOK for unknown words”, you would know they “just” need to look for unknown words.

These verbs will be part of what drives your selection of activities/projects/lessons.

Step Number THREE: Decide or develop assessments/rubrics/projects to match the objectives/standards.

I know, I know.  Assessments. Another naughty word.  NO ONE likes to assess.  Especially standardized tests.  But you know what– it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.  Assessments can take many different shapes.  Now, I know eventually they (if developmentally appropriate) must be able to transfer their learning to paper and in many states be able to pass a standardize test.  I’m not here to debate on the validity of those tests.  I could be on my ‘soap box’ for awhile.  I’m just sharing how to better lesson plan.  And I KNOW that sometimes lessons are dictated to you or what you MUST teach.  This post is for those who have to develop plans on their own.

Assessments happen before a unit/lesson, during the unit, and at the end of the unit.  Assessments, as mentioned above, can be VERY different and they are on-going.

I tend to think of the pre-assessments and assessments during the unit pretty informal and the end of the unit formal.

Preassessments can happen during small group, whole group in front of the chart paper (somewhat), or individually.

Assessments during the unit can happen as rubrics, exit tickets, entrance tickets, small group, question and answers, station work, projects, etc.

Step Number FOUR: Give the kids some sort of informal preassessment.  Where are they coming from?  If 90% of your kids know how to add one digit numbers, why would you spend tons of time teaching addition with one digit?  Touch on it, assess, then move on.  Keep your kids engaged. Take them higher.

Your preassessment results drive your instruction. If all but one DON’T know how to add one-digit numbers, then you know what to teach.

Step Number FIVE: Set questions to prompt higher level thinking. Have some pre-determined questions you want to ask to facilitate the learning.

Step Number SIX: Decide and/or create activities/projects/lessons based on what your class needs.  Pull from mentor teachers, websites, district curriculum, etc. Some options: integrating across curriculums, inquiry-based projects, project-based units, etc.

What is important here is to choose/create “lessons” that will help the kids master the objectives so they are successful on assessments/rubrics/projects and consequently think at higher levels, ask better questions, move beyond the standard.

Step Number SEVEN: Assess and Reteach

I know, reteach?  What?  They didn’t get it??  In the next post, I’m sharing some super quick ideas on when to incorporate reteaching.

I hope some of these ideas help.  This is just a super brief overview of lesson planning.

Below is a freebie I’m sharing to create the big picture.  This is where you might begin in lesson planning. This is the Monthly/Yearly Curriculum Map I have shared for the past 2 years.  You can map out your entire year.  It is a Power Point document so you must have Power Point to open.  This is an easy-to-use document that you can type right into.

I’ve included maps with areas for 5, 6, or 7 subjects.  JUST CLICK HERE.

I hope you can use it!!



A Modern Teacher's Binders and Planners