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09 August 2012

How Do You Plan?


This is something I swore I wouldn't wait until the last minute to do this summer...LESSON PLANS! My goal was to have all of August planned out (from the 15th-31st) and then wait for our item maps to come out before I delved into September.

Since our district is a "pay-for-performance" district, a lot of emphasis is unfortunately placed on assessments. (We usually have a week's worth of testing every quarter, not including state assessments.) We are usually given an "item map" to help guide our instruction. The item map tells us which state standard will be tested on each question. Sometimes the standards are really broad, and you just hope that you've taught it in the manner in which it is presented on the assessment. Sometimes it's as simple as "determine the main idea of a paragraph" and that makes it a whole lot easier to work with.

However, even though a standard is not listed as a tested standard, we are still required to teach everything in our district curriculum maps. Of course, the reasoning is because the skills that are not tested now are building a good base knowledge foundation for skills that are tested later. Plus-we all know it makes good sense to teach everything on the curriculum maps!

But I digress-back to lesson planning! I almost met my goal. I did 3 weeks worth of math, 2 weeks of writing, and decided to wait on reading until I get my class list. One advantage to all the assessments we (well, the students at least) take it that we have tons of data to start the next year. I love having a good learning picture of my students before they even come in to the classroom.

This is what my math plans typically look like. Our district is very big on Bloom's Taxonomy and learning quadrants and they want to make sure we are really pushing kids in their thinking. Just in case you're wondering what those letters in parentheses and QA/QC stuff is! We also need to bring each lesson to some sort of purposeful closure AFTER we complete the Demonstration of Learning (DOL). I typically move through concrete, semi-concrete and abstract learning in math, which also includes whole group, partner work, and independent activities. It takes me a LONG time to do lesson plans because of this.
Here is a sample writing. This changes somewhat once I start small group teaching during the writing process.
And last but not least-reading! This is a sample from last year. Reading takes me the longest because it is my longest block of the day. Wondering about the color coding? The standards are color coded by priority. So, if a standard is red, it is a high-priority standard and we will teach it for several days. Then it's blue and black standards (I think...I need to recheck that!).

If you want to have a copy of the templates:

Click here for writing.
Click here for reading.
Click here for math.


  1. Goodness! I think those are the most detailed lesson plans I have ever seen! Maybe it is just me, but that's crazy that you have to write up and validate every little thing within your lessons. I love the idea, however, of having a closing summarize question at the end of each lesson to wrap things up. What a great question for when they walk out the door or transition to the rug.

  2. It is annoying sometimes, but since I was a student teacher in the same district I now work in, I was trained to do them this way. So, I really wouldn't know how else to do them! I also really like the purposeful closure. Sometimes it leads us into the next day's lesson.

  3. Wow! Those are some detailed and organized lesson plans. I would hate for you to see mine.

    Just found your blog through the linky, and became a follower.

    Ms. Fiorini’s Stadium

  4. Just discovered your blog. You are amazingly organised to be able to do this!!! Thanks for sharing - off to have a peek around your blog...J

  5. Hi!! I just found your blog through the Planning Linky!! I am your newest follower.