Recently I wrote about ways to learn through writing lesson plans. Though I believe there’s no right way to write lesson plans, I think it’s helpful to include a few essential components:
- Objective/learning goal: What will students learn through this lesson?
- Time: Estimate how long each part of the lesson will take.
- Differentiation strategies: How will you support students who need extra help and students who need an extra challenge?
- Sequence: Describe what will happen during each part of the lesson.
- Assessment: how will you know what students have learned?
Check out Scholastic’s New Teacher Guide to Lesson Planning for more information on the basics of lesson planning. When writing lesson plans, sometimes using a template can help focus you on components of lessons you may have overlooked. In the sections below I’ve collected a variety of lesson and unit planning templates for you to try out.
LESSON PLAN TEMPLATES
Back in July, a teacher posted a question on Q&A asking for a Common Core lesson planning template. All of the responses were interesting, but the recommendation of this template caught my eye. I like how the template clearly focuses teachers on how they will use the Common Core, but I love the reflection questions at the end. Teachers are able to analyze how they have planned for the CCSS by considering questions like, “Does this lesson represent one of the ‘shifts’ in instruction? If so, which shift and how?”
The 6th-12th grade ELA templates on this site are interesting because they allow teachers to focus on the CCSS, Blooms Taxonomy, the Danielson Framework and Gardner’s multiple intelligences as they plan.
Common Curriculum is a terrific and free online lesson planner that allows you to align your lessons to CCSS and organize lessons by days, weeks, or months. You can create reusable templates with common components such as “essential questions,” “objectives,” “warm-up,” etc. The long-range planner allows you to create units comprised of individual lessons and you’re able to share your lessons with other teachers or even publish them in a blog.
Pinterest is chock-full of lesson planning ideas. This board has many ideas for you to explore.
If you’re interested in planning CCSS-aligned lessons, you can download the Common Core Implementation Kit. This is a free tool to add to Microsoft Word, allowing you to create lesson plans with key components.
If you’re focused on differentiating your lessons, this tool can help you hone in on exactly how to plan for differentiating.
UNIT PLANNING TEMPLATES
There are a variety of long-range planning frameworks to choose from, but my favorites focus on backwards design. With backwards design, you focus on what you hope students will understand at the end of a unit and work your way back from those goals. The Teaching for Understanding Framework focuses on coming up with a generative topic, understanding goals and performances of understanding.
Understanding by Design co-creator Grant Wiggins wrote this lovely blog post with helpful unit planning resources at the end.
The Literacy Design Collaborative offers teachers the opportunity to build modules using their online framework and tools. When writing modules, teachers work to develop student performance tasks, a skills list, an instructional plan, and a results section.
Which of these templates have you found the most useful? Where do you go to find your lesson plan templates? Please share with us in the comments section below.
Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.