One of the best hacks to save time when writing lesson plans is to make it a system. Having a system in place makes writing your lessons go faster.
Lesson Planning Formats
The first part of getting a system started for your lesson planning is to decide on a format. Often, our lesson plan formats are given to us through our school or district. If not, then you have some flexibility to decide the flow of your lessons.
After being in the same school district for the past several years, I’ve gotten quite accustomed to using their “I do, we do, you do” gradual release format. I’ll even go so far as to say I love using this breakdown of a lesson for my students.
Within my writing block, I teach lessons broken apart in this gradual release model but also include the components of my writer’s workshop. These are an introduction, the mini lesson, independent writing, and share time. Every time I sit to write lesson plans, I know my writing lessons will have this same format.
Content of Writing Lesson Plans
Once you have decided on the format of your lesson plans, next will be to decide on content. What exactly will you be teaching? Will your teaching be following units or themes? Is there a curriculum you must follow?
Determining the answers to these questions will help you decide on what you will be including for your lesson planning content.
I like to teach my writing units by genre: narrative writing, informative writing, and opinion writing. I chose genre because it closely follows my state standards which align with the Common Core standards as well. Aligning my content closely with the standards I teach makes it easy to ensure I cover the required content.
Delivery of Lesson Plans
The next factor to consider when writing lesson plans is how you will be delivering the content to your students. What are your space, equipment, and supply requirements?
If you are limited on space, you might have to modify holding 15 individual partner labs for that science experiment you wanted to do. Instead, maybe students will be observing a demonstration. If so, then this changes your lesson plans as you might need to add in note taking or a way to hold your students accountable.
If we again take my writing units as an example, I plan the majority of my lessons to be Google Slides with printed materials for my class. This means I must plan ahead to run the copies each week so my lessons run smoothly. If my school limited my copies I would have to factor that into how I deliver my lessons.
Putting It Into Practice
The last component to consider when writing lesson plans is how students will practice the content. Depending on the grade level and subjects you teach, this answer could vary widely. For example, if limited on time to teach social studies you may only have the students work on an assignment every other day or even once a week. Other subjects, such as math and reading might have daily assignments.
For myself, it’s important my students are writing every day so I build this into our lesson routines. This might mean I keep my mini lessons very short and focused in order to incorporate a longer practice time at the end of my lesson. Students are also not cycling through every part of the writing process every day which helps save time for independent writing.
When planning out your system for writing lesson plans, keep in mind that not every subject will have the same process. However, the closer you can keep the components of your lessons across subjects consistent, the easier and faster your lesson plan writing will be.
If you’d like to learn more about the 3 systems you should use in your writing block, then make sure to sign up for the Summer Self-Care Conference before it’s over.