Lesson and Unit Plans by Gini Cunningham
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Include opportunities to learn and practice new, essential vocabulary: see it, say, it, read it, write it… again and again.
- Teach in small increments. Teach, review, allow for practice, receive feedback, determine how to move forward.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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