Lesson Plan Therapy–Just Lay Me on the Couch

Why I said I was going to write about lesson plans this week, I’m not sure. I don’t have the best track record for writing lesson plans. I usually have a plan in my head and something on the schedule, but the written plan in the past hasn’t always happened. I’ve been doing a lot better with that this year. Umm….up until this month. Where exactly did February go?

So that’s a big whoops right there!

If I didn’t get a plan written in advance, then I get it written after the fact. I like to have the record of what I taught and the reflection of it helps me. I will use the same lesson plans as a baseline for future years if it’s a unit I teach again.

So my lesson plans….

They start with what is now a one-page template. I use check boxes to quickly indicate the level of collaboration in the unit, if it’s focused on reading promotion or information skills, if there are parts of the Big 6 or Super 3 embedded in the lesson, and if it’s a single lesson or multiples in a unit. Then I quickly type in a content area correlation if there is one, a list of materials, title and grade level. Putting in Learning Targets (‘I can’ statements such as “I can identify tall tale characteristics.”) and state objectives goes really fast now that I include them on my Unit Share. I just copy and paste.

Then I put each lesson sequence on it’s own page and just type it out in a flow. I can’t use too much of a format for that part because I haven’t found one I like. I do highlight two aspects of my lesson plans: differentiation strategies and assessment strategies. I feel like I don’t do enough with these. And for someone who wrote her Masters case study on assessment, I should be doing better! It’s a work in progress.

So more than sharing, let me highlight what I need to work on.

I really would like to develop a tried-and-true list of differentiation strategies specifically for library. Particularly for whole-group library. I know there are teachers who run library centers. I’d love to observe and see how it’s done, but I have yet to get my brain wrapped around how I would do that. What I CAN do though is improve what I do instead of trying to reinvent what I do. I think there’s a difference. So I want to develop a list of strategies to use when reading aloud, for drama, for research, for different learning styles, etc. I should just start typing it, gather ideas, and get it all listed on one page. There have to be experts out there I can glean ideas from!

Assessment is constantly on my mind, and I feel like it goes constantly undone. Maybe this is the week to turn it around. Two years ago I was writing about assessment to complete my Masters degree. I had students assess their work. In fact, now that I recall….I had students assessing themselves on exactly the same PowerPoint unit I’m finishing with 3rd grade! Why didn’t I remember that before I started the unit? I put out chart paper after my lesson time and during our book checkout, students wrote a number from 1-5 indicating their skill level for the learning target. If the chart said “I can insert a picture in PowerPoint” they responded with 1 (I have no idea) to 5 (I’m an expert). I think I asked students to do the chart before the lesson and after the lesson and divided it in half.

Too bad I didn’t remember to do that this time around! Maybe for the next unit. I can only move forward.

So, assessment….similar to differentiation strategies, I would like to develop a quick checklist of assessment ideas. And I also want to further develop a tool to track information skills over time. I have a one page chart of our state standards. Even though I developed it last fall, I really haven’t implemented it yet. I need to do that. I wanted to pilot it with a few students at every grade level, but I’ve put it off and the master copy is still sitting on my desk where it landed after I printed it a few months ago. It seems like yesterday.

Since I’m talking myself into things as I write this, I think I’m going to take time this weekend to choose 6 random students from each grade to use it with. I want to see if it’s a tool that successfully communicates to myself and teachers over time. If I’m going to do that, then I really just have to do it, don’t I?

Well, thanks to the blog and any readers out there for this moment of therapy regarding lesson plans. Or not. Maybe you’ve gotten an idea? Have one to share? I think I’m going to put assessment more seriously on my plate. I’ll bring it back out in a few weeks once I develop flavors a bit more.


  1. So glad to know that I am not the only one going manic trying to figure this whole thing out… and I have been in the library a long time! I don’t have the excuse that I am a newbie. I, too, constantly have these things running through my mind, trying to fit it all in and trying to remember it all. But I really think that is where our teaching profession is at. Things are evolving and with assessment driving instruction, we are constantly re-working and re-tooling our instruction to fit the needs of all the learners. Add some technology into it and then budgeting issues… geesh, I need to take a nap just thinking about it!

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