How to Get Your Lesson Plans Done More Quickly

5 Teaching Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning

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Every week teachers spend countless hours scouring the internet for the perfect lesson plan or searching for some inspiration that will lead them to creating an amazing lesson for their students. Teachers do this because it's their road map, it leads them to what their students will be learning and how they will go about teaching them.

Lesson plans not only help a teacher run their classroom and help keep the children focused, but without one the substitute teacher would not know what to do with the students.

You would think that in order to create an effective lesson plan that is engaging, addresses students' learning objectives, incorporates engaging activities and helps to check for student understanding would take days to create. However, educators have been at this for a very long time and have come up a few tips and secrets that help them get their lesson plans done quick. Here are a few teaching strategies to help you get your lesson planning done faster.

1. Start Lesson Planning Backwards

Before you even start to plan your lesson think about what your learning objective is. Think about what you want your students to learn and get out of the lesson. Do you want your students to learn how to count by 10's or be able to write an essay using all of their spelling words? Once you figure out what your overall objective is then you can start thinking about what activity you want the students to do.

When you start with your end goal of the lesson, it will help make the lesson planning part go much quicker. Here is an example.

The objective for my students is to name all of the food groups and be able to give examples for each group. The lesson students will do in order to complete this objective is going to be to sort foods in an activity called "sorting groceries". Students will learn about the five food groups first by looking at a food chart then going into small groups and brainstorming what foods go into each food group. Next, they will receive a paper plate and food cards. Their goal is to place the correct food cards on the paper plate with the correct food group.

2. Download Ready-to-Go Lesson Plans

Technology has made it very easy and convenient for teachers to be able to go online and print out already made lesson plans. Some sites offer free lesson plans while others you may have to pay a small fee, nonetheless it is worth every penny. Once you figure out what your learning objective is, then all you have to do is a quick search for a lesson plan that correlates with your end goal. Teacher Pay Teachers is one site that has many already-made lessons (some free, some you have to pay) as well as Discovery Education where all lessons are free. These are just two of the hundreds of sites that offer lesson plans at your convenience. This site as well as About.com Education also has plenty of lesson plans on it as well.

3. Collaborate with Your Fellow Teachers

One of the best ways to get your lesson planning done quicker is to collaborate with other teachers. There are a few ways that you can do this, one way is for each teacher to plan for a few subjects, then use the others lessons from your fellow teacher for the subjects that you didn't plan for. For example, let's say that you created a lesson plan for social studies and science for the week, and your colleague created plans for language arts and math.

You would both give each other your lesson plans so all you really had to do is only plan for two subjects versus four.

Another way that you can collaborate with your colleagues is to have the two classes work together for specific subjects. A great example of this comes from a fourth grade classroom where the teachers in the school would change classrooms for different subjects. This way each teacher only had to plan for one or two subjects versus all of them. Collaboration makes it so much easier on the teacher and not to mention the students love to work with different students from other classrooms as well. It's a win-win situation for everybody.

4. There's an App for That

Have you ever heard of the expression "There's an app for that"? Well there is an app to help you get your lesson plans done quicker.

It is called Planboard and One Note and Lesson Planning to name a few. These are a just three of the many apps that are on the market to help teachers create, organize and map out their lesson planning from the convenience of their finger tips. Long gone are the days of handwriting or typing out each and every lesson that you plan on doing, nowadays all you have to do is tap your finger on a screen a few times and you will have your lesson plans done. Well it's not that easy but you get the point. Apps have made it easier for teachers to get their plans done faster.

5. Think Outside of the Box

Who ever says that you had to do all of the work yourself? Try thinking outside of the box and have your students help you, invite a guest speaker or go on a field trip. Learning doesn't have to be just creating a lesson plan and following it, it can be whatever it is you want it to be. Here are a few more teacher-tested ideas for thinking outside of the box.

  • Digital field trip
  • Put on a play
  • Have students create an activity

In order to be effective, lesson planning does not have to be exhausting and so detailed that you plan out each and every scenario. As long as you list your objectives, create an engaging activity, and know how you will assess your students that is enough.