Monday, January 4, 2016

Make your lesson plans work for you


I've always believed that your lesson plan should be more than just activities listed on a piece of paper.  Your lesson plan should guide your day and help you feel more organized, confident, and prepared to start the day.  To make your lesson plan work for you, it's helpful to evaluate how it is formatted.

Think about how you use your lesson plan.

  • Do you follow it like a schedule?
  • Do you pick and chose activities depending on your students interest levels, moods, and current temperaments?
  • Do you use it like a checklist, ensuring that you complete the activities and meet specific standards?
  • Do you make notes on it so that you can refer back to them as you plan for the future?
  • Do you use it as a document to help you prepare your classroom environment for the coming week?
  • Do you have a number of different groups of children that you need to plan for?
  • Do you work with different groups in the morning and afternoon?
  • Do you implement a large number of small group experiences, or is your classroom more center-based?
Once you've answered these questions you should have a better idea of what your lesson plan should help you focus on.  Here are 6 different templates for you to explore, check out the explanations below each template, and then download the entire set here.  You can choose which one you like best - and they're editable, so you can fill in your lesson plan on the computer to keep things neat, or print off your template and fill it in by hand. 

This template is organized by learning domain, so that you can plan in order to help your students meet standards in each domain. 


This template is also organized by domain, however it also includes space to plan the materials that will be included in your activity centers. 


This template is ideal for programs that have separate morning and afternoon classes. It is also helpful if you have a class that you need to keep occupied during rest time, or if you like to plan your day based on your schedule. 

This lesson plan template is purposely unstructured.  It gives you space to plan activities for each day and you can chose if you want them to follow a specific schedule, or if you'd rather use your plan like a checklist.

This template helps you plan specifically for the types of groups you will be working with as you implement different learning experiences.  If you do a lot of work with both large and small groups this might be the ideal lesson plan template for you!


This template is broken down by the different sections of the day, so that you can organize your materials based on what is coming next.  

Take some time to think about the lesson plan format that you are currently using, is it working for you, or are there things you would like to change? The new year is a perfect time to start something new, download these free templates and explore, you might find something that changes the way you use your lesson plans!

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