• Melissa

Lesson Planning: Digital & Paper Style

I recently ran across a lesson plan book that I had used about a decade ago. It was the spiral type with boxes that you fill in for specific content areas and times of day. Where you wrote everything in pencil and if you had a snow day or didn't get through a lesson as planned, you drew a big arrow over to the next day to indicate the lesson was on-going. It was at that point that I realized that I had been using a digital version of a lesson plan book for many years, but was wishing I had a version of both at my disposal.

I've created a few different types of lesson plan templates over the years and have liked different features about each of them. Some worked well with subject driven elementary-level content. But then that format didn't work so well with PBL and integrated studies. Some worked well for middle school, where classes were divided by hours. But still, it was hard to see the bigger picture of lesson planning, even with a week at a time.

Elementary Lesson Plan Form in Google Sheets

While teaching elementary students who were identified as gifted, I used a color coded format in Google Sheets. I created a template tab with the titles that I would reuse each week (days of the week across the top, content areas down the side). I added an area for "Special Notes" at the top so I could make note of things like recess duty, assemblies, and early dismissals. The text is blue means the item is hyperlinked to resources, documents, or websites I would need for the lesson. At the bottom, I listed the NAGC standards for gifted students as a reference. I created a page for each week in the semester, and just moved that week to the first sheet position as the quarter progressed. If you like this version, you can make a copy and edit it to fit your needs. Use this LINK.

Middle School Lesson Plan Form in Google Sheets

For the middle school version of the form, instead of listing content area, I identified the grade level and hour of day. The standards are listed at the bottom for reference and there is space at the top for special notes about duties, meetings, and events. There is also a spot at the bottom for reminders about after school activities. If you like this version, you can make a copy and edit it to fit your needs. Use this LINK.

Middle School Lesson Planning Google Sheet

In this version, I wanted one document where I could move around the dates/lesson plans based on the specific group of students I was working with. This year, I had a semester of students for an elective called Global Citizenship and a different group of students the second semester. Based on our experiences the first semester, I was moving lessons around to better meet the needs of the current group of students and the school calendar. I copied the tab from the first semester, changed the dates, and moved lessons around. I marked the checkbox when I covered that lesson to keep track of where I was. The blue text represents hyperlinks to websites, videos, Google Docs, and eBook supports.

One Subject Area Lesson Plan Form

With this Google Sheet, I have one class set up for a week at a time, and can plan through the lesson. At the top for each day, I list the object/success criteria. Then, any formative assessment, the opener or hook, the middle of the lesson, the wrap it up portion, then notes on differentiation. In the resources section, I hyperlink any videos and digital copies of lesson plans or documents. Here's a version you can make a copy of and edit for your own use.

Back to the Original "Paper" Lesson Plan Format

Over Christmas break I was planning how I wanted to change the format of my elective class and the sequence of lessons to use with my new group of students, along with adding some content about artificial intelligence. I found it hard to do those things with a digital form, so I started with sticky notes, moving them around on my office wall trying to figure out the best sequence of lessons. I soon realized that was not going to be efficient. My current method is using small sticky notes in a planner. This makes it easy to move them around in case of snow days, lessons that take more than a day, and changes in schedule. They are color coded by the type of lesson they are (classroom procedures, getting to know you, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, global awareness, substitute days). The little flags are opener activities. I'm using this in conjunction with the Google Sheet above, where I keep all of my digital links.

I think my lesson planning format will continue to change as my teaching style evolves and to better meet the needs of my current group of students. What format has worked well for your lesson planning?


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