Lesson plans, again

Today in our leadership team meeting we discussed lesson plans again, and looked at the samples I copied — a lesson plan I wrote before we had the big discussion about what makes a good lesson plan, and one from after, with lots of detail, that references the standards.

We didn’t get much further, although it does appear that there are actually three kinds of lesson plans we’re talking about — and that teachers probably need all three.  One is a schedule — what you will teach, when you will teach it, and in what order.  The second is a detailed plan for each lesson that lists standards, objectives, your plan for differentiation, the questions you will ask, etc.  The third is a curriculum plan for the whole year that shows what standards the kids need to learn and when you will teach each one over the course of a year.

We ran out of time, but it will be interesting to see where we end up going with this.  Apparently some people at our school don’t even write lesson plans, and at a bare minimum, we need to make clear the expectation that everyone writes a daily lesson plan.

9 thoughts on “Lesson plans, again

  1. I am a teacher in a district that has always required lesson plans with objectives, activities (including differentiation) and assessments. Of course they want more than that, but that’s the minimum required. I find it hard to believe you would require plans to include “questions you would ask.” How much planning time do your teachers have each day? I just get very frustrated because if my district had their way I would spend more time writing lesson plans (and testing) than I do teaching. Sure I work on school at home, but I am tired of it taking over my whole life. Are there any teachers in this group talking about lesson plans?

  2. Janet, three of us are teachers the rest are former teachers. I am concerned that if we make some grandiose plan for lesson planning, we’ll have a riot on our hands once we present it to the staff.

  3. I think it is impractical to expect lesson plans to look like the ones we produced in school. Teachers know how they are going to assess, what standards they are meeting, what questions to ask. Writing it all down is not for the teacher it is for the administration. My lesson plans are not overly detailed, just activities plugged in. I barely go back and look at it throughout the week, but it sits on our desk in case the principal and VP may walk in and they expect it.

    As Janet said, we get very little time during the day for planning and I would rather spend it getting materials ready, discussing with other teachers what worked and what didn’t in their rooms, sharing ideas. Much more productive than spending time on long lesson plans that would just get filed away or turned in.

  4. These are some excellent points….
    This has been a huge bone of contention for me as a director and a teacher. I think I have blogged about it before, as well. Unfortunately, teachers get in the habit of coming to work “winging it”. I don’t like paperwork either, but some type of documentation or tracking of the childrens work is benefital in the absence of the teacher or for parent/ teacher tours, & such like, but there is a balance. I have found that the more seasoned my staff has become- I create less paperwork. Yes, as the director, it made my job a little more difficult at the time-but I didn’t see why my staff had to waste time filling out elementary forms when there were children to tend to. Time is very valueable, and once it is gone it can never be given back-I would rather have staff spend time pouring over children than paperwork…I’m sure their families would, too.

  5. I spend about 1-2 hours a week lesson planning for a 3 day week (I use the same plans for the morning/afternoon classes.) I also spend 2 hours once a month making a basic monthly outline that I expand my weekly plans off of. I prep 1-1.5 hours before school and tweak my plans as necessary. It’s a process, and sometimes I tweak plans as I go through my school day. Planning with a purpose is important. There is a fine line to walk, because I know many teachers who are like me, wanting to accomplish more than you have time for, and then feeling crushed when you don’t complete your plans. And then there is all of the unexpected elements of teaching. I’ve come to believe (after tweaking my lesson plan form countless times over the last 8 years) that there is no perfect way to plan and everyone approaches planning differently. I use the ECIPs, Creative Curriculum, Work Sampling and Developmently Appropriate Practice for Early Childhood as my guidelines. Our preschool has created it’s curriculum based on these guidelines. It’s easier for us, since we just a preschool. I can’t imagine trying to fit a lesson plan for each elementary school grade. I hope it goes well for you.


    • Fran, those are tags. Click on a tag, and you’ll get all my posts with that tag. For example, when I write a post about teaching writing, I tag it “writing,” and you will find that — and all my other posts about writing — when you click on the “writing” tag. Does that help?

    • Hi Fran, I don’t know how you subscribe!! How’s that for blogging-illiteracy? There are ways to do it, and you can always sign up for a blog reader and put my blog on your list. Good luck!!

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