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Thinking about Lesson Plans
July 02, 2013

Thinking about Lesson Plans

Sometimes as teachers we get sucked into things that are cute or fun.

I admit I spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest.

But, many times we forget that cute and fun doesn’t always promote learning.

In the last few months I have really started to look at each lesson I’m planning.

“Why am I teaching this lesson now?”

“What are my instructional goals?”

“How will I assess the students to see if they met the goal?”

“How can I provide opportunities for the most student engagement?”

“What questions will guide this lesson?”

I know it seems like a lot to think about… and it is, but you don’t have to master it overnight.

The way I approached it was: Pick one area to tackle, get good at it, then pick another.

I started with “What are my instructional goals?”

Within this question, I found several components: Standards, benchmarks, long-term tie in to other lessons, and product or result.

Breaking it down into even smaller chunks I decided that I was going to work on truly aligning my lessons to the Standards.

Every lesson – not just the ones that were easy.

This took about two weeks of plodding through, not giving up, and rewriting many lessons to meet the essence of the Standard.

Once I was in the routine of planning lessons that were accurately based on Standards I went to the next step.

I chose, “How can I provide opportunities for the most student engagement?”

Again, this broke into several different areas of engagement: Small group, large group, independent, written, and oral.

My focus was going to be on each and every student participating in class discussions.


No opting out.

No just sitting there.

No saying, “I don’t know.”

I was done with that…

My first plan of attack was to just make a class list on a clipboard and make sure that I was calling on different students continually.

I called on students with their hands up.

I called on students who never raised their hand.

I called on boys.

I called on girls.

My plan was to eliminate the bias in which student I call on and truly get everyone involved.

This seemed easy – but one thing I hadn’t counted on was the uncomfortable feeling of long amounts of “wait time”.

Wow… sometimes it felt like we were just sitting for days, and days, and days waiting for answers.

But – then something happened – kids started giving more thoughtful, in-depth answers!


Once that was rolling, I focused in on the kids leading the conversation.

I taught and modeled a series of lessons to promote discussions.

After a few days the kids began to realize that they were going to be accountable to talking… it became much easier.

As you can tell, this process wasn’t quick, cute or exceptionally fun.

However, more of my students were engaged and they were expressing their learning easier and easier each day.

Up until the last day of school I was still really taking time to “think” about each lesson.

If you give yourself the time to chew through your ideas it’s amazing what can happen.

Well, summer is calling… my brain is wandering… and that’s all for today.

If you’re looking for some new resources for your classroom, hop on over to my site and take advantage of the 25% off coupon code “36D27I69”.

It’s good through 7/19/2013.

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I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or home-school moms!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

See you next month!

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