Lesson Planning Tips: Make An Impact in Every Lesson

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Lesson planning can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of a teaching role. To help try to shorten this process we have gathered some useful tips to help you properly plan and execute innovative lessons every time:

Who are you planning for?
Before you even begin to plan, you have to understand who you are planning for and what is the best way to inspire them.

Make objectives
What is your goal for the outcome of the lesson? Be specific in your points. As an NQT, your lesson plans will still be subject to scrutiny, just as they were during your training. But don’t be tempted to over-plan with additional detail you think will impress your mentor. Ultimately, your plans are for you and your learners. A good plan should guide you to the most effective way of teaching your lessons. Don’t be afraid to adopt a less narrative style, or even include images to make it easily accessible.

Make it your own
Collaboration is key in the education community, so you will have access to thousands of ready-prepared lesson plans. However, these will have been prepared with a specific set of children in mind. They are great for borrowing some ideas and tips, but ensure you are putting your own stamp on things.

Add some zhuzh
Yes, you have to cover the national curriculum. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do this in your own vibrant style to make it more engaging.

Author bio day? Have them write a diary entry from the perspective of the author. Math class? They can identify shapes in artwork or build quilt blocks and houses. The thing about creativity is that the students will often learn things in unexpected ways.

Plan with your own workload in mind
When you are planning your lessons, remember that you are also planning out your own time. Think about the preparation of resources, marking and research. When you see a prep-heavy lesson coming up, try to balance it out with something that can be prepared more efficiently or has less marking. You will have a plethora of sensational “reduce your lesson planning to seconds” tools thrown at you; approach these with caution. While you can eventually develop your own style, start with the school planning format and make that work for you.

Don’t be afraid to go off-book
Whether there is a wasp in the classroom, a burning question arises, or the students just aren’t getting it today, you will need to learn to deviate from the lesson plan.  Sometimes, off-book learning just happens. Learning should be a journey. The same can be said for when things go wrong. We all have mid-lesson realisations that things aren’t going to plan. You must be brave enough to stop, regroup and attack things from a different angle.

Use technology
This is the 21st Century. The tech generation has grown up texting their parents and face-timing their friends. So why not harness that in your lesson planning? Even if you don’t have access to computers in the classroom, you can let students use tech to make video projects, PowerPoint presentations and research information.

Don’t over-plan or plan too far ahead
If you outline every detail and step, you will find that you lose creativity in your teaching. And if something distracts the class (like an improvisational debate), then you’ve got to adapt the lesson plan to fit. Know enough about what you want you want to get done to get the point across, but be flexible, too.

Sharing’s caring
Have you hit upon a topic of hot debate that really excited the pupils? Or found an activity that made it easier for them to understand certain learning objectives? If you have a lesson plan that works, then store it, share it and re-use it where you can!

Sharing resources is really important, especially where school budgets are tight and materials are limited. These should be linked closely to your curriculum, and used across as many lessons and classes as possible.

A quick internet search will give you many ideas for lesson plans and resources. But having the means to share them easily within your school, link them to lesson objectives, and find evidence for their usefulness is also important.