Lesson Planning Advice from Veteran Teachers (Slideshow)

Browse the wisdom of experienced teachers on how to best plan and execute lessons – the core of your professional world. These tips span all subject areas and grade levels. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable and will benefit immensely from learning the tricks of more seasoned veterans.
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Male teacher sitting
You don't have to fill in the whole square of the lesson plan book, just because it is there.
You don't need to write everything you want to say; just brief notes.

Margaret Stanush
La Vernia Elementary School
La Vernia, TX
Grade Levels: 3-5
You don't have to do everything you say you are going to do in your plans for that day.
See them as a road map where detours are all right as long as you eventually arrive at the intended destination.

Dotty Bailey
Shamrock Middle School
Decatur, GA
Grade Levels: 6-8
Young girl carrying books
Make great plans for the first week of school!
Plan a lot of interesting activities, but never expect to get through them all in any given day.

B. A. Morris
Liestman School
Houston, TX
Grade Levels: 3-5
Short stack of books
Never stop experimenting with lesson ideas and teaching approaches.
Be continuously reflective about your teaching. If something does not work, be very honest with yourself about the possible causes. Restructure your lesson and try again. Always be flexible and willing to change.

Patrick Allen
Canton Intermediate School
Canton, CT
Grade Levels: 6-8
Boy working on computer
Keep track of everything you do and why you do it.
Writing "reading workshop" in a plan book will not help you plan next year. Write your objectives, exact mini-lessons, or a general theme you are studying. I know that the long hours I spend planning units of study will be a tremendous asset to kicking off the new school year!

Levy Lakeside School
Merrick, NY
Grade Levels: 3-5
eacher helping student in drawing class
Meet and share lessons with other colleagues even if they don't teach the same subject or grade level.
Constant communication and rewriting of lessons and ideas are important to personal growth as well as professional growth in the classroom.

Nancy Parks
East Islip High School
Islip Terrace, NY
Grade Levels: 9-12
Stack of books
I wish I had known that it's OK to teach from the textbook.
Or that every lesson can't be an innovative, hands-on, cooperative learning experience. And, that drill and practice is a good thing. In truth, once students are truly familiar with the material, they are more interested, not less.

Sandy Follansbee
Hillview Jr. High School
Pittsburg, CA
Grade Levels: 6-8
Boy studying
I wish I had known that when I was enjoying the lesson, the kids were having fun, too.
I wish I had known how to recognize the signs that I needed to alter the pace of a lesson (glazed expressions, fooling around, fidgeting, etc.). Or that quantity of work and assignments did not equate to quality.

Sue Ritchie
Nathaniel Morton Elementary School
Plymouth, MA
Grade Levels: 3-5
Boy outside
I wish I'd known to look through my grade book every day, and focus on the kids who are doing well, trying hard, or improving.
Remember that they are doing so because you are a good teacher.

Sandy Follansbee
Hillview Jr. High School
Pittsburg, CA
Grade Levels: 6-8
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