Lesson Plan Template: Daily Plans

Throughout my teaching career I have tried various methods of lesson planning. At first, I started out with weekly plans. This was overwhelming and I often felt “stumped” when it came to coming up with ideas and creative ways to present history content because I was looking at so much at one time. For me, it just didn’t work.

More recently I have been using daily plans. I took the common board configuration that my county wants all teachers use and turned that into my daily lesson plan template. You can see the template below and download a copy for yourself here.

daily-lesson-plan-template-snip

This daily lesson plan template has worked out great so far. I love the fact that it helps me to focus on one lesson at a time. It also helps me do a better job of chunking history content for my students. I pair my daily plans with a monthly outline of the units/lessons we will be covering as well as test and quiz dates. This has worked wonders for me and has reignited my passion for lesson planning.

If you prefer an online lesson plan book, check out my blog post about Chalk.com here.

What is your preferred method of lesson planning?

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Online Lesson Plan Book- It’s Free!!

Lesson planning is one of my favorite parts of teaching! It is a creative outlet, but that creativity can be stifled when the process is inefficient. When I first started teaching, I didn’t realize how daunting the task of lesson planning could become depending on the method used to write down lesson plans. I tried multiple methods of recording my lesson plans from handwriting them to typing them up using a template on Microsoft Word. These methods of lesson planning worked out alright for the most part, but there were a couple of recurring issues that I ran in to. Regardless of which method I used, my lesson plans were difficult to edit and I found myself writing the same information over and over again. Also, when I was trying out hand writing my plans I had to lug around my lesson plan binder back and forth from home to school. If I forgot the binder, it was difficult to plan.

Since efficiency is key in this profession where we already have so much paperwork to complete in a timely fashion, why make any task more difficult than it needs to be? This is the thought that got me researching ways that other teachers do their plans last summer. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and came across an online lesson plan book called Planboard. There were multiple features of Planboard that attracted me to the website. I think you will find them attractive as well.

When using Planboard you have the ability to 

  • Create a lesson plan template that automatically shows up each and every day. While the lesson plan template is in use, all you have to do is fill in the blanks. If you need to edit or change something you can easily copy and paste your plans from one day to another.
  • Upload standards to your lesson plans. On the website there are standards that have been uploaded by other educators that you can use in your own plans. Or, if you can not find the standards you need, you can type them in or upload them yourself. Once your standards are uploaded it is as simple as a click of a button to add them to each lesson plan that you write.
  • Easily share lessons with students, parents, administrators, and colleagues. Planboard has a share button that allows you to send a link via email. The recipient of the link then has the ability to view your plans. This is great for collaborating with your colleagues. The World History team at my school would share plans weekly using the share button on Planboard.
  • Upload resources that go along with your lesson plans. With this feature everything is, quite literally, at your fingertips.
  • Copy or move whole lessons from one day to another with a click of a button. Plans change often. The fact that it was so simple to adjust my plans as needed was definitely one of the most attractive features of this website.
  • Access your plans from anywhere you have an internet connection. The need to carry around a large notebook or binder to house your plans is nonexistent when you use Planboard. We already bring enough papers home with us, why add more when it’s not necessary?

 

I used Planboard as my primary method of lesson planning for the duration of the 2015-2016 school year. Now, I am completely convinced that it is the easiest and most convenient way to create and share lesson plans. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?

Happy Planning!!!

Educational Websites that can Transform your Teaching!

There has been a big push in my school district for “21st Century Learning” throughout the past school year. Last year, teachers were required to take a course showing that we were “21st Century Certified”. Most of the classrooms in my school come equipped with Promethean Boards and projectors (either on carts or mounted to the ceiling) and the district has been encouraging us to use technology as much as possible to engage our students and provide them with authentic learning opportunities.

During my first year of teaching, I was hesitant to use technology. I was a traditionalist by definition. A lot of that had to do with my own personal style of learning. I learn best when I can read a textbook, write an outline, and take time to really digest and internalize the information. It’s not necessary for me to have an interactive presentation or an educational game to go along with the material. Well, needless to say, I quickly learned that my students come to me with a wide array of learning styles and my style of learning simply did not work for the majority of my students.

This was quite the dilemma. I knew that educational technology was out there, and even what some of this technology could do, but I had never used it before. Implementing the use of technology into my daily classroom practices seemed daunting. So, I decided to take it slow and try out just a couple of things at a time. Over the courses of the next couple of years I became familiar with a variety of educational technology tools and websites and slowly started learning about and using them on a regular basis.

Below I have provided links to some of the websites that I have found to be most useful with a brief description of what each can be used for.

Edmodo is a website that teachers can use to keep students informed and up-to-date about what is going on in the classroom day-to-day. It is set up to look like Facebook and is extremely user-friendly. Teachers and students must create their own accounts. As a teacher, you have the ability to set up classes and invite students to join them online. Once this is done, you have the ability to post notes, assignments, polls, links, quizzes, and even documents for your students to access online from home. Edmodo is great for helping students who are absent find out what they missed.

Planboard is basically an online lesson plan book. I have tried recording my lesson plans by handwriting them and using a template on Microsoft Word. Neither of these methods was efficient. It would take a long time to hand write my lesson plans and I found that I had to write the same thing over and over again (learning goals and performance tasks). This was extremely inefficient. It was also difficult to edit my plans if things changed. As for using Microsoft Word, this was easier and more efficient than hand writing my plans, but I had a lot of issues with formatting the template. As I would add text, the template would adjust and would sometimes be thrown out of whack.

Last summer I found Planboard while browsing Pinterest. Planboard allows you to create a template for your lesson plans and then copy that template onto each week day. It also allows you to add your standards to your lessons with the click of a button! (Gone are the days of handwriting or copy/pasting the same thing over and over again). One of the best features, however, is the ability to copy entire lessons from one day to another. That way, if your plans change, it is quick and easy to make the adjustment.

Kahoot! is a website that allows teachers to make interactive quizzes. When making a quiz (called a Kahoot!) teachers can write multiple choice or true/false questions. The quiz is played in class as a whole group. The teacher starts the quiz and projects the questions on the board. Students participate on their phones. They must “join” the quiz using a game code provided by the teacher. Once students have joined, the fun begins.

The teacher can set a time limit for each question (I usually give 20-30 seconds depending of the level of difficulty). The questions are projected on the board, and students answer on their phones. Students earn points for answering quickly and answering correctly. (I believe that the first student to answer correctly receives the most points). This game inspires friendly competition among students and keeps them engaged. Typically I will offer a few extra credit points to the top five students at the end of the entire quiz.

Kahoot! is great for test review or just as a check of student understanding at the end of a lesson.

If you are just getting your feet wet with using educational technology I definitely encourage to you to try out Edmodo, Planboard, and Kahoot! as your starting points.

 

 

But, are they Engaged?

I love lesson planning, I really do. Lesson planning has got to be my favorite thing about teaching. I have always been organized and love to have a plan. It is comforting to know what is going to happen next. It is especially exciting when I sit down to plan and come up with an idea that I think will knock my students socks off. The excitement lingers until I get to school and the lesson bombs. Completely. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. Trust me when I tell you, it is not pretty.

There is nothing that compares to the feeling of coming up with a lesson that you think is just great and then standing in the middle of your classroom watching Johnny nod off in the corner and Suzy reach for her cell phone. What are they thinking? Do they really mean to tell me that they don’t find the contributions of the Muslim Empires interesting? At all?? I, as a history teacher, am completely offended.

In all seriousness, I get it. I understand that many students do not see the connection between history and their lives. They just don’t. Our job as teachers is to bridge that gap and show our students the relevance of our content area. In some cases this is easier said than done. But, it is our job nonetheless. The difference between the lessons that bomb and the lessons that get my students excited has to do with how engaged my students are in their own learning. The more “boring” my students think a topic will be, the more creative I have to get to come up with a lesson that will get them engaged. From my personal experience, I know this can be done. My goal for this blog is to share lessons that have worked in my classroom and, maybe, some that didn’t. I hope you will join the conversation and share some of your ideas too. As educators, I strongly believe that we are better together.