I love talking about lesson planning, because I think that lessons are made and broken in the lesson planning phase. Not to mention, I think teachers are spending a lot of time in what we would traditionally call “lesson planning,” but it’s not resulting in better lessons!

So let’s clarify something that’s really helped me in my lesson planning. When I’m trying to teach any skill, whether it’s a math skill, PE (though I never taught that!), English, language arts or writing or whatever, here’s how I do it: 

  1. I take a blank sheet of paper and list the skill that I’m teaching at the very top. 
  2. Then I set my timer for about two minutes and I brainstorm every other skill kids would have to master in order to master this one skill that I want them to learn.
  3. Then, I set my little phone timer for another two minutes, and I put all the skills that I brainstormed in a logical order. The simplest skill to the most advanced.
  4. Finally, I pull out my lesson plan book and I plot those individual skills onto the weeks that I’ll teach them.

That is lesson planning at its simplest and most powerful. Give it a try!

For more help and tips on how to get the most out of your lesson planning, check out this book:

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