Lesson Planning – What Does it Look Like in 2016?

Teach Like it is 2016

Updating the Lesson Plan Template

I love the templates Google is putting out for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms. I have not put in the effort yet to be a design wizard so having some templates to start with really helps!

I am disappointed however with Reading Rainbow, who made a lesson plan template for Google Docs. There is very little that is innovative about this template; it is the same design from 30 years ago. I appreciate the section that asks for implicit consideration of different types of learners, but is this the only thing that has changed over the last few decades?

Culture Has Changed

The world is not the same as it was 30 years ago. We have learned a few things and discovered some new styles of teaching. Is the traditional lesson plan template preparing new teachers for teaching in the 21st century?

Technology Changes What We Do

Google exists and it should change how we teach.

It is my hope we are not using technology simply to make our classroom workflows more efficient, but rather to open up new possibilities.

Technology allows for

  • More and better collaboration.
  • A more student-centered approach.
  • Connecting outside of the 4 walls.
  • The ability to use current events and real data.
  • Be responsive to student needs, in the moment.
  • Accessing information in new and different ways.
  • Asking complex questions rather than distributing information.
  • More student research.
  • More personalized learning opportunities.
  • Differentiating for learner interests and ability levels.
  • Real-time feedback.
  • Conversations to deepen understanding rather than comments left in the margin of a paper.
  • The teacher shifting to facilitator.

Modern Lesson Planning

How would you change the traditional lesson plan template to be more reflective of teaching in 2016? Here are a few of my suggestions to consider:

  • Identifying Depth of Knowledge (DOK levels) on tasks.
  • Implicitly asking how the lesson engages the 4 C’s of 21st-century learning.
    • Clearly communicate ideas.
    • Critical thinking.
    • Collaboration.
    • Creative thinking.
  • Room layout influences the culture of the class.
    • How is the furniture arranged to facilitate the 4 C’s?
  • How do student voice and passions influence the lesson?
  • How are students using technology?
  • How does technology integration change the task?
    • What technology is going to be used?
    • Why are we using technology?
    • What digital resources enhance student engagement?
  • How is the technology used accessible?
    • Are videos captioned?
    • Online resources conform to Universal Design Learning
  • What are the students researching?
    • What advanced search techniques do students need to know?
    • What can be searched vs what needs to be directly told?
  • What are the essential/driving questions?
  • How is inquiry utilized?
  • Why do students care about this lesson? How is it relevant to their future?
  • Address ELA Common Core standards.
  • Address the 8 Mathematical practices of Common Core.
  • Address Math Common Core standards.
  • How does this lesson increase students digital literacy?
  • How is digital citizenship being addressed in this lesson?
  • How is digital feedback being provided to allow for growth of critical thinking?
  • What real world applications are being used?
  • Cross collaboration: What other subjects can be integrated into the lesson?
    • What other teachers or professionals can collaborate on this?

Lesson Plan Templates

I would love to see some lesson plan templates in the style of

  • Project Based Learning
  • Backwards Design
  • Universal Design Learning
  • Inquiry Based (5 E’s)
  • Blended Learning
  • Online Learning
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Readers Writers Workshop
  • Hyperdocs
  • Common Core
  • NGSS
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