Editor's Note: This blog was updated in December 2017 to provide new information and update expired links.
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?
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
If you’re looking for a wide variety of lesson planning templates, head over to Pinterest. We’ve curated a variety of interesting format ideas for you on our Lesson Planning board. You can browse the site for additional ideas for your grade or subject area. Try out different templates and see which ones work best for you. There are lots to choose from!
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.
If you’re interested in planning CCSS-aligned lessons, the first step is to really understand what a Common Core-aligned lesson looks like. To wrap your head around the components of a CCSS lesson, think about using evaluation tools to help you plan. Read about the EQUiP rubric and watch videos of teachers using the rubric to evaluate Common Core-aligned lessons.
When designing lesson that meet the needs of your diverse learners, consider using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach. Read this blog about UDL then go to the CAST website to create your own UDL lesson plans.
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. Check out this post to learn more about LDC resources and collections.
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.