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The Importance of Long-Term Lesson Planning

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

lesson planner at House of Doolittle

Ask any teacher what is one of their least favorite parts of their profession and the odds are in favor of some of them naming lesson planning as a necessary chore, but one associated with a bit of dread. We all - including teachers - have our favorite things - ice cream flavors, TV shows, and songs, but when it comes to preparing lessons for the school year, that task often gets relegated well below decorating your classroom walls and just above getting sneezed on by a student.  

With a little bit of big picture strategizing with a lesson planner and some creative rolling up of the sleeves, teachers can formulate a foundation of lesson plans that carry them throughout the entire school year. It sounds like a monumental task, but just like teachers tell their students- practice some critical thinking and problem-solving combined with a little patience and positive results will happen. Make your academic planner your best friend! 

A Few Benefits of Long-Term Lesson Planning 

Long-term planning for just about anything sounds like a great idea but is especially effective for teachers who want to start the new school year with a comprehensive and organized approach. Whether a new teacher or a seasoned veteran, lesson planning to cover the entire academic year allows educators to broadly assess the standards and goals that are expected to be achieved for a specific grade level and ensure compliance throughout each grading period. Once a balanced timeframe of the curriculum is established, teachers can then align the objectives and goals for each lesson to be taught. Teachers can focus on students rather than worry if they have remembered to cover everything that is expected.   

Even though teachers are with students for the entire school day, those hours have to be managed efficiently. Everyone knows that when dealing with a classroom full of tiny, unpredictable humans, the wheels can quickly fall off the school bus. A series of solid lesson plans allow for those occurrences when the day veers off course and improvisation is the new word of the hour.  

Many things can create stress throughout a teacher’s day including being unsure about the next tasks to do. The last thing they want to ask themselves is “what do I do next?” Staying organized with lesson plans and always knowing what comes next is a valuable lesson for all teachers who want to stay on target for their expectations as well as their students. If a time or comprehension gap occurs, a clearly devised lesson plan can create a seamless pace of consistency. 

Long-Term Lesson Planning and Remote Learners 

Schools, teachers, and students were so incredibly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that many of the effects on the educational system are not yet entirely known. One day classrooms were full, and the next administrators and teachers were scrambling to create an educational experience that still enabled them to instruct students and achieve curriculum goals. The remote learner and hybrid classroom was born.  

Teachers who have both in-person students in their classrooms and remote learners have definitely had to pivot in their approach to be comprehensive with lessons and inclusive in their student communication. It was a difficult fence to straddle at first, but teachers, being the creative innovators that they are, didn’t miss a beat figuring out how to make this classroom situation effective for each student. Long-term lesson planning became critical to success as everyone had to navigate the unknown that the pandemic created. This forethought was particularly helpful as many substitute teachers were needed to fill in for those who fell ill with COVID-19 and had to take sick days to recover.  

How to Begin Long-Term Lesson Planning 

Lesson plans based on curriculum standards and classroom goals have to start somewhere and using personal lesson and academic planners as well as wall calendars the entire class can use are essential first steps as you look at August and September but are thinking about May and June. A few best practices can include: 

 •  Organize all your tools like lesson planners, calendars, curriculum standards, and textbooks as your arsenal for comprehensive planning.

 •  Pay close attention to your personal calendar as well as the school or district calendar. Highlight holidays, special events, testing, and professional development days.

 •  Create lesson plans based on the days you will be teaching combined with the goals that need to be met.

 •  Allow for the unexpected like snow days or some lessons taking more or less time than planned. Patience and flexibility apply to lesson planning as well as the actual instruction.

 •  Maintain a bank of activities that will keep students actively participating in the lesson plans. This can be helpful to prompt students to stimulate their imagination and have some fun.

Teachers do not need to reinvent the wheel every school year. They can take the best practices of the lesson plan foundation they have created and adjust it as needed, adding or subtracting components to meet expectations and to keep all students engaged and on task.   

Are you ready to get organized and plan lessons for the upcoming school year? Lesson planners are essential in staying organized, prepared, and doing what teachers do best- instruct, inspire, and innovate.