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Strategic Teacher Resources for Lesson Planning


Teachers can save time and decrease stress if they create the right kind of lesson plans.

These lesson plans are strategic (if they are streamlined and effective). These lesson plans are not strategic if they follow a curriculum guide, textbook, or high-stakes testing map of objectives.

There are several issues that must be resolved concerning lesson plans:

  • What works
  • What is for show
  • What has to be turned in
  • What the team teacher or team agrees upon
  • What has to be left for the substitute
  • What the lessons will be during an evaluation

Except for the first item, "What works," the other important considerations have little to do with instruction.

Requirements for a "What Works" lesson plan (that saves time and is effective)

A lesson planning system is "What Works."

The components of a system such as this include:

  • It maps to a yearly plan so that nothing is left out
  • It is automated so you don't waste time copying
  • It motivates students and focuses upon how they learn
  • It is easy to reference and refer to
  • It is easy to find what you need, easy to change course, easy to evaluate

What we are talking about is a lesson management system

Lesson plans are hit-and-miss without a lesson planning and management system in place.

This lesson planning system needs to include a "big picture" view...a yearly plan.

Then, the lesson planning system can focus upon keeping students engaged in high-quality learning experiences.

The high quality experiences include all the items described in the Instructional Management section of this Web site:

We recommend a generic project strategy that promotes Higher-Order Thinking and Multiple Intelligences


Lesson Planning Forms

The ideal Lesson Plan Form is one that..

  • Can be automated
    • Mail Merge a plus
    • Can be updated with a spreadsheet or database
    • Can be worked on by collaborators or members of an instructional team
  • Can be submitted electronically
  • Can be viewed for instant information (During class, you don't have time to read it)
  • Reminds you of the positive instructional habits that you are developing
  • "Oversteps" the boundaries of subjects
    • Includes math in every lesson
    • Includes reading in every lesson
    • Includes problem-solving in every lesson
    • Includes decision-making in every lesson
    • Includes a graphic organizer in every lesson
    • Includes Multiple Intelligences in every lesson
  • Connects to the thematic unit in at least one (preferably several) ways

A Lesson Plan we Don't Recommend

Years ago, I developed an Access™ database that would merge with the lesson plan that was required on the campus where my wife worked.

This worked, but it took about an hour a week to keep the database updated. It also produced about a nine-page lesson plan.

I call this the “"All but the Kitchen Sink”" Lesson Plan.

The reason that we don't recommend this lesson plan form for daily use is the same reason that you don't go through a driver's checklist similar to a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist. (If you did use a pre-flight style checklist you would be late for work more times than you would if your car just conked out occasionally.)

However, this lesson plan has some uses:

  • Use at the beginning of the year for overall planning
  • Use in a College Class presentation when studying for your Master's Degree
  • Revenge for that certain substitute who leaves your room a mess, and you have to re-do all the assignments for the day you were out

Download of the not-recommended Lesson Plan Form

The "All but the Kitchen Sink" Lesson Plan Sample (PDF Format)

Download recommended Lesson Planning forms:

Lesson Plan Sample Turn-in Form (PDF Format)

Lesson Plan at a Glance Form Page 1

Lesson Plan at a Glance Form Page 2

Planning At a Glance Week in View Form (Both Pages)

Nine Week Generic Planning Framework (PDF Format)

Although we believe that our strategy of creating modules and automating lesson planning is quicker and more efficient, we are providing links to some of the most used lesson planning sites on the Internet. Check these out, and decide for yourself if our method saves you time.

Links to other Lesson Planning Resources on the Web. (Each opens in its own window)