Lesson and Unit Plans by Gini Cunningham

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Dec 20th, 2013
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Lesson plans guide your daily instruction; unit plans expand over weeks and tie lesson to lesson to attain big goals and achievement. While no lesson ever goes exactly as planned and adjustments often need to be made mid-stream, never, ever permit yourself to enter your classroom with no direction in mind. It spells catastrophe, and worse, inadequate educational opportunities for your students.
Here are ten tips for teaching productivity (and peace of mind!)
  1. Plan lessons carefully. Grab your pacing chart, check your standards, peruse your textbook and then set out the plan for today, tomorrow, and the week.
  2. At the end of the period or day, evaluate: What went well?  What did not go well? What do I need to re-teach?  What are my next steps?
  3. Have a clear opening to your lesson to get students’ minds open and rolling. The opening ties directly to the objectives and goals of the lesson.
  4. Make certain that your students know what you expect them to know and be able to do as a result of this lesson. Check often to see how they are progressing toward the goals.
  5. Include opportunities to learn and practice new, essential vocabulary: see it, say, it, read it, write it… again and again.
  6. Teach in small increments. Teach, review, allow for practice, receive feedback, determine how to move forward.
  7. As for the practice, use the model: I do (teacher demonstrates), we do (teacher and students work together to solve the problem/evaluate an issue), student and partner do (while the teacher supervises, advises, re-teaches in mini-lessons), and finally, you do (student works independently). Setting up this routine takes time but it cuts out student confusion when s/he works independently.
  8. Provide time for closure at the end of each lesson to receive feedback from students: summarize today’s learning; what questions do they have that need review tomorrow; ask students what they think about their learning; give a hint of how today’s lesson links to tomorrow’s by planting seeds of curiosity.
  9. Prepare for tomorrow with all of the feedback from today. Never leave your classroom without having tomorrow’s plans, hand-outs, board work, etc. in perfect order.
  10. Tie lesson to lesson under an umbrella of learning goals and create unit plans to unite learning, add cross-curricular instruction, and expand thinking and understanding. One lesson, one unit at a time can build masterpieces of teaching.

© Gini Cunningham (adapted from her book, The New Teacher’s Companion: Practical Wisdom for Succeeding in the Classroom (ASCD). In addition to her writing, Gini is an author, workshop leader, and consultant who provides education for educators.

Planning Your Next QuarterAnd to have peaceful, predictable, productivity for your next quarter, you will want to access the teleseminar Planning Your Next Quarter where you learn how to strategically set up your calendar one quarter at a time…

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