In the modern classroom, things get messy—in the best ways possible. Today when teachers use lesson planning strategies, they know the instructional model has shifted. They're no longer the focal point of the classroom.
Instead, students are working in groups to create real-world solutions to real-world problems.
Each student gets to explore, discover, produce, try, fail, and do better and better. All the while this is happening the teacher takes on a new role, as the facilitator of learning.
In this new role you'll find them presenting scenarios outlining real-world problems that are relevant to students and simultaneously aligned with curricular goals.
Meaningful and essential questions are posed and discussed between everyone as the learning journey moves forward. Ultimately, learning in this way becomes about deeper explorations and seeing possibilities—it's about asking "why" and "how" and "what if ..."
To achieve this level of engagement in your own classroom, there are endless possibilities as far as lesson planning strategies go and everybody does it a bit differently. However, even though it may seem to be an overwhelming task at times, rest assured that there are some absolutely fail safe guidelines you can follow. Cultivating scenarios becomes easier with these strategies, and you will be begin to see connections between the content that needs to be covered and everyday life experiences.
When work shopping lesson planning strategies, start by thinking about where you want to go and what you want to accomplish with your students. Although technology may play a huge role in how projects are put together, you want to keep it tangible. To that end, these 10 fail safe lesson planning strategies will help you figure things out fast.
10 Lesson Planning Strategies That Never Miss
- Start with the end in mind: You should always have an idea of how your activity will look. Knowing the outcome when you’re in the planning process will save a lot of time. In this instance, getting to a finish line you already see is the key to success.
- Start small: It’s easy to get excited about planning a lesson when you see endless possibilities and want to try them all. Nevertheless, keep it simple and as stress-free as possible. You want to have strong standards to stick to and a reasonable time frame for completion.
- Draw from the past: When planning a learning adventure for your students, keep in mind that any new information must connect somehow to previous knowledge and previous experiences. In other words, what students bring with them into the classroom determines not only what they’ll learn but also if they’ll learn.
- Make tough topics fun: This is the time where you can take a challenging topic and make it interesting and engaging to students. It could encompass a field trip, elevated levels of research, and hands-on experimentation. In this way they will not only immerse themselves into the project but enjoy it during the process.The best examples of lesson planning strategies like this in action can be found in these inspiring case studies.
- Be flexible: You may have a plan and deadline in mind, but allow room for some flexibility. When going through the learning process there may be areas that are more engaging than others. Have a timetable and check-in process but don’t keep it set in stone. In the end, making sure the students are learning is the ultimate goal.
- Keep students engaged and informed: Students need to know and feel that they are an integral part of the process. As such, lesson planning strategies like this incorporate differentiation and personalization to make room for everyone to learn at their best levels and paces.
- Give useful feedback: Students must be provided with consistent, positive feedback. They need to have their efforts reinforced regularly and meaningfully. From the very beginning of the planning stage, determine how you will introduce the project and your benchmarks for giving feedback to students.
- Factor in room for achievement: At every benchmark your plan should include a space where students will be recognized for completing certain areas of the project. This will keep them motivated and pointed in the right direction.
- Plan for accountability: The plan should be able to hold students accountable for demonstrating how they are learning. There should be areas of assessment for content and skills on both an individual and a group level.
- Have room for conflict: Collaboration is not always pretty. At some phase of the project there may be disagreements brewing. As the facilitator, strive to ensure that conflicts are resolved peacefully and the team moves forward constructively and supports each other.