No matter how high-tech education might become, there will always be a need for lesson planning. Unfortunately, some teachers are still using the same lesson planning formats of the previous generation of educators. Those kinds of plans not only neglect recent theory, but they also just don’t reflect how the modern classroom works. Here are some sections you want to start including:
Evaluation by students
Collaboration is a big focus for all of the next generation standards, and a big part of that is students constructively helping each other. It’s a good idea to fit one or two instances of students evaluating each other’s work into every lesson, even if it’s just a short “Think-Pair-Share” or similar thought exercise.
We’re learning more and more about the different abilities with which students come into class. True differentiation is a tremendous challenge in a class of 30 students and limited time, but it helps to think about how you will make your learning accessible for all your students—particularly the ones on either end of the proficiency spectrum. Identify them in your plan by name if it helps.
Formative assessment (often)
Formative assessment is a big part of differentiation, and lesson planning in general. Familiarize yourself with as many formal and informal strategies as possible, then start making dedicated spaces in your plans. If you have several favorite, you might even want to create a checkbox so you can easily identify which ones you want to use that day.
In today’s lessons, the focus should be shifting on a consistent basis. Students shouldn’t be just doing one activity. But that requires a lot of work in order to stay on schedule. Although teachers have been incorporating timing in plans for a while, they are generally vague. Be as specific as possible, including identifying actual times that you need to transition students.
Technology breaks down. Servers can crash. Printers can badly jam. Wi-Fi routers can become overloaded. If any of those things happen, how will your lesson continue? This is the last step in lesson planning for the forward-thinking, veteran teacher.
These ideas can go a long way toward making sure the modern classroom runs smoothly.
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