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The lesson planning guide: 5 tips for building exceptional lessons & saving time as a teacher

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the strength and resilience of the world’s teachers. Teaching in person, going online, and then trying to do a blended model of learning has been an insurmountable task, and teachers have risked their lives and their sanity to make sure the next generation is equipped with the tools they will need to meet their futures. 

The last thing teachers need is further stress over planning lessons. 

Lesson planning is one of the biggest pain-points for teachers. You want your lesson to reach every type of learner, capture their attention, and include meaningful activities. For some teachers there is now the added pressure to create flashy, social media worthy lessons as well. 

What matters most is that you start a lesson feeling confident and empowered to teach to the best of your ability. When you save time lesson planning you have more energy to get creative, research new teaching strategies, and most importantly: feel good when you walk into your classroom. 

That’s why we’ve created this guide: to help you plan lessons more effectively and in a shorter timespan. 

1. Collaborate with colleagues

Many teachers have realized that collaboration is key when it comes to planning lessons quickly and effectively. Why should every teacher build separate lessons around the same learning objectives? It seems intuitive that teachers share lessons to cut down workload and then adapt them for their own teaching style, but sometimes collaboration is easier said than done.

There can be many barriers to effective collaboration. When you’re working from home, you might feel disconnected from your colleagues. Maybe you have a different working style from the people who are teaching at your grade level, or you are the only teacher in charge of a specific subject. Secondary teachers may find collaboration especially difficult. 

Here are some of our tips for finding good collaborators: 

  • Join online teaching communities. 

The internet has a huge range of communities for teachers, especially on social media. Find a Facebook group for teachers who are teaching your subject, or for teachers who live in your area and post your questions there. You’ll find that most people are struggling with the same things you are. Twitter is also a place where you can find lots of free resources and engage with teachers from different communities. 

  • Set boundaries and establish trust.

It’s important to collaborate with someone who is willing to give as much to the collaboration as you are. Make sure you’re clear about what you both want to get out of the collaboration so it’s not just one person taking work from the other. If you can’t find someone in your own school community, look to the online communities and don’t give up!

  • Use technology.

Technology is your best friend when it comes to collaboration. You can use file-sharing services like Google Docs, or try Teacherly! It makes collaboration simple by allowing teachers to share their lessons with each other and leave comments and voice notes directly on the lesson for feedback. You can also message teachers using the chat function, or build a lesson from scratch together in real time.

2. Plan in advance

Teachers never have enough time in the day. Teaching is exhausting, and one free period per day isn’t nearly enough time to plan all of your lessons (but you knew that!) It’s a simple tip, but try to finish your lesson plans as far in advance as possible. 

How does Teacherly help? 

Teacherly keeps all of your lessons in one place and helps you keep things organized. You can access previous lessons and adjust them for a new class without wondering where you stored them.

We also make lesson planning faster and easier through our templates, which help you build lessons that adhere to your curriculum’s standards quickly and easily.

3. Transform preexisting lessons for your class

You don’t have to create every single lesson from scratch, even if you aren’t collaborating with your colleagues. There are tons of resources online from Tes to Twinkl to Teacherly. Teacherly lessons are ready to use in your classroom, created by accredited teachers, and can be used to teach in person, remotely, or both simultaneously. Simply select the lessons you need, add them to your workspace, and make any adjustments you need to for your class.

If you want to see more of our favourite lessons from this month, check out our recent blog showcasing them.

4. Plan around learning outcomes

Instead of starting with the activities or details in a lesson plan, try taking a step back to think about the bigger picture. Before you plan your lessons, try creating a curriculum calendar, so you can visualize how your students’ learning will progress throughout the year. 

When planning your individual lessons, it is important to keep in mind what you want your learning outcomes to be from the beginning. 

Teacherly’s lesson templates help make sure your lessons adhere to curriculum standards and meet your learning outcomes. We have integrated quizzes and assessments, and you can ask students to leave feedback on a lesson to see whether they are learning how you would like them to. 

5. Use visual aids 

According to eLearning Industry, students respond faster to visual material as opposed to plain text. Images help store information in long term memory, they make communication easier and help build students’ motivation to learn. 

Check out Teacherly’s beautiful lessons. We make it fast and simple to add visuals, audio, and video to each lesson so you capture the attention of every type of learner. 

Get your tour of Teacherly to learn more today, or sign up for free.

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