Do you use a specific lesson plan website or set of websites when planning lessons? Do they have a specific format? I've seen many sites with carefully crafted lesson plans, but I wonder, do teachers really use them? If so, how? How much do you tweak it? Do new teachers need "standard" lesson plans, and then, once they're experienced, do they use them or just "wing it?"  Do you like to use specific formats from sites like the International Reading Association, Scholastic, Teachers' Network, etc.  There seems to be a debate about it in the college of education and information/library studies, so I wanted to ask the experts in Classroom2.0. Thanks much!

Tags: curriculum, expert, lesson, new, planning, plans, teachers, websites

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Hi Elizabeth,

I haven't been here (or even really been a teacher) for that long, but I have found a couple of resources I like when I'm trying to put together lesson plans: This site has a great directory of lesson planning resources: http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/online-teaching/lesson-plans -- great general lessons plans across all grade levels. And if you're looking for more specific stuff, teachers.net is always a great place to go. At least these are the ones I've found. Let me know what you think, and I'd love to hear from others too about their go-to places.
Hi Knox,

Thanks much for your ideas and links! I'd love to hear from more teachers, too. Do you think more experienced teachers actually use lesson plan templates, or do they mostly create their own? I've heard mixed reactions. Mostly, I think that lesson plan templates are used as a guide, but that most teachers never use a lesson plan template 'exactly as packaged' -- that is, they only use one or two parts, or they use an introduction mostly as a way to motivate a lesson of their own... It seems to be a real debate among a few folks here in Maryland.
Also - do you teach online? Is that why you recommend the onlineschools guide? Or do you think it also applies in more traditional "face-to-face" classes?
Thanks again!
Hi Elizabeth,

Yeah I agree, I never use a lesson plan verbatim, but I do find it helpful if I'm stuck, especially if there's a clever way to present something that I haven't thought of. And no, I don't teach online. I'm in the TFA program in Washington state and getting my masters in Education. I just found that resource after Googling around a little bit. Hope that helps
I always plan my lessons but I don't like go use given plans anymore as they restrict too much. 
There are always those in charge who feel the need to prescribe plans for their teams, departments or schools but this restricts true creativity and playing to the strengths of the class and yourself.
I agree that some lesson plan template is useful as a guide for new teachers but ultimately you need to just make sure that you have a clear idea about the following questions:
1) what is the skill or knowledge that students should be able to demonstrate at the end and how will you assess or evaluate that it has been achieved?
2) what must all of them be able to do, what should most and what could some be able to do ( i.e. Differentiate outcomes)
3) where will they be at the start ( prior knowledge) and how will you facilitate them getting there allowing for different learning styles
4) how will you share the success criteria with the learners so that they understand the progress that can be made
5) how will this learning progress next lesson or where can it take the students beyond the class
6) how can I develop collaboration, communication, critical thinking, organization and assessment/evaluation/ reflection skills ( but not all at once obviously )?
In summary, I always plan with these questions in mind but I don't write down the details unless I think I might forget something important! Detailed lesson plans are there for observers not teaching. In fact sticking desperately to a plan when you realize you need to change tactics just leads to disaster!
I hope this helps, Volker
Great question Elizabeth! I've come across tons of websites with all kinds of lesson plans and ideas and I, too, would love to hear from more experienced teachers on how they use and implement some into their classrooms. In addition, I also liked the webpage Knox shared and I will be bookmarking it for future use.
I am a student and just created my first lesson plan. The reviewers found a part of the lesson a little confusing. I would be a good candidate for learning from other's lesson plans! I was wondering if there are any sites that compile lesson plans from actual teachers, not education companies.
Terry,

I'm curious, if you don't mind sharing -- What part of the lesson did your reviewers find confusing? Are the reviewers professors in an Ed. Program, or teachers themselves...?) Did they point you to any "best practice" lesson plans at all?

Also, I think the site, teachers.net, that Knox referred to in his first post here is pretty much a compilation of lesson plans from 'actual teachers,' not education companies. I'm sure there are others, and like you -- I'm interested in finding out from other educators -- particularly experienced or 'master' teachers -- which ones they might use for ideas.

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