This isn’t the first time you’ve tried to solve your lesson planning frustrations. You’ve been looking for a way to build lessons that actually bring kids to mastery while incorporating every resource, curriculum map, curriculum and standard you are required to teach.
Well… my name is Jill, and not too long ago I was just like you…
This is a quick story about how I used to spend hours each weekend freaking out over my lesson planning.
I was struggling with fitting all my content in and having it actually make sense for me and my students. I was getting more and more frustrated because my lesson plan book was a hodge podge of resources and activities… and if I were being really honest, that lesson plan book didn’t represent what I REALLY taught each day.
At the time, I was trying to incorporate every new technique I had learned in professional development, use elements from every program we were required to teach from and link it to the curriculum map that my district had given me.
It. Was. A. Lot.
Then the other shoe dropped: We got a new science program and I realized I not only had to learn the new science content, but I had to start lesson planning for that too.
All this… and I was ALREADY playing catch-up.
As you can imagine, I was in bad shape, but I wasn’t ready to give up on my love of curriculum and planning lessons. I knew that if I could figure out a system for lesson planning, it would actually be one of the parts of being a teacher I liked best!
I was really struggling to take the big picture of everything I had to implement every day and break it down into parts that I could actually get my arms around and make my own. I didn’t mind spending the time lesson planning on the weekends and evenings, but I WAS really tired of spending the time and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere.
Can you relate to this?
I HAD to figure this out.
So, first I bought more resources because I thought I needed better ideas. Well… that didn’t work at all.
I even tried using a computer program that I could put my lesson objectives in and it would shoot out lesson plans for me, but that um… well… that didn’t work AT ALL. Talk about disjointed!
Then I tried looking across all of the subjects I had to teach and trying to find what they all had in common, and it worked a little better.
And that’s when I finally tried teaching the skills underpinning each subject area as a tool for learning the content in that subject.
And guess what? This time it worked a whole lot better.
For years I was led to believe that I need more fun, more interesting, new activities for my students each lesson. So, I was always on the hunt for the next shiny penny…
When I figured out that it wasn’t true and that it really didn’t work, I was finally able to break out and get the results I was working so hard for.
One real problem is all of the activities available for free or cheap online. TOO MANY OPTIONS were keeping me from discovering how to take a standard or program, break it down into smaller teachable chunks and build powerful, super engaging lessons for my students!
So, I realized if I broke each content standard or program down into learnable skills that I taught first, then my students could learn ANY content in ANY content area. It was like giving them the keys to the kingdom of content. I figured that if I taught them the skills for learning the content, they were unstoppable!
I used what I discovered to be able to:
- Flip my focus from “getting through the lesson” to teaching skills that fuel content mastery
- Prioritize what I teach and be swift in cutting content that doesn’t really matter
- Lesson plan and prioritize when I was using a scripted program where it was “done” for me
And out of all of this, I wrote “The Simplified Lesson Planning Formula” book.
This took lots of years struggling in my own lesson planning and also visits with thousands of teachers who were struggling under the weight of all they had to teach, just like me! But you know what? It was so worth it because we now have a real-life tool that solves our real lesson planning dilemma!
I realized that the Bloom’s Taxonomy 56-step lesson planning routine (OMG!) I had been taught in college not only didn’t work, it wasn’t going to help my students master what they needed to master!
Talk about jumping through unnecessary hoops!
What used to take me hours each week and at least 4-5 hours each Sunday night, I can now get done so fast because I am planning my whole school year, each month and each week right off the bat. I NEVER ask myself, “What am I supposed to teach next week?” I have already mapped out my entire school year.
The Simplified Lesson Planning Formula is just that: a combination of steps that takes you from planning your year, planning your month and weeks and then planning each day’s lessons. The book is written as if I am sitting right next to you as you plan… like I get to be your coach on the side!