Lesson Plans: What are your thought on them?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MrTempest, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    Personally I cannot stand them nor find any value in them. I have come from a top performing school in a top performing county where we were not required to use lesson plans. Now I am in a struggling school in a lackluster county and they put strong emphasis on lesson plans and making sure they include all the required mundane information. I am not exaggerating when I say 100% of the faculty at my current school thinks it is just pointless busywork. And I cannot help from roll my eyes when our in house academic coach (I do not know why we have one) preaches that lesson plans are crucial for more effective teaching and all I want to do is scream no they do not, I have come from a better performing school and district and they did not use lesson plans!
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If you don't use lesson plans, what do you use to plan lessons and units?
     
  4. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    I have plans for my lessons that are broken down in units and sections, all aligning with the standards. We would of course have relevant lessons, activities, work and assessments for the content. This can all be done without putting in it in a document.
     
  5. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I think structured lesson plans are the part of education most out of touch with the reality of modern teaching and that is saying something.

    The plans my student teacher has to do for his program right now are a joke. They are literally the same ones I did in my program 12 years ago that were already outdated then.

    I absolutely agree that it becomes an exercise in filling in boxes for no purpose other than filling in boxes.
     
  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I personally use a simple form that's just for myself with the objective, activities, materials, and estimated time. Sometimes I don't end up looking at them, but it helps me to be organized and prepared. I would hate to have to go through the motions of filling in someone else's form that was not useful to me. I appreciate the fact that our admin trusts teachers enough to not require us to turn in plans!
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Frankly, I don't have time to look over lesson plans. When I walk into classrooms, teachers are teaching and students are learning. That's all I care about.
     
  8. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    Our admin require us to send a weekly digital copy to the academic coach, hard copy in the office, and one placed on your desk. It makes me wonder who is this benefiting, the admin or the teacher. I would rather have an admin who is not seeing something ask me and then I can show them what they are missing.
     
  9. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I like to give myself a similar goal and what I'll be using. But I don't have time to spend hours each day writing out intricate forms. We are required to submit lesson plans if we are so new to the our school, but Ms. Irene's method is more than enough to make the administration happy.
     
  10. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think lesson plans are good for keeping the teacher on track and organized on when they will teach a certain concept; however, the lesson plans that colleges (and some schools) require teachers to come up with is ridiculous. To me, it's just busywork like you said. I can see in a struggling school where the emphasis would be put on lesson plans because they need documentation. But as long as a teacher is teaching and the students are learning, it doesn't matter in what form those lesson plans are in.
     
  11. MrTempest

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    I agree. I feel that lesson plans should be one of many tools a teacher can pull from to keep them organized. However, if they have other means to keep organized and on target than it should not be required.
     
  12. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    By the way, is anyone aware of any literature that supports the benefits of lesson plans?
     
  13. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Right before my first year of teaching last year (and even for a few weeks into the year) I did make the super detailed lesson plans that I had learned about in college. That very quickly went out the window. It was too much work and I saw no benefit from it.

    In EC, I have to use quite a lot of scripted lessons that come from programs like Number Worlds or Wilson/Fundations. For those lessons, they basically come with their own plans.

    For lessons I do on my own, I keep a little planner where I jot down things like "Lesson- Fact vs Fiction" and then include the name of/links to any resources I'm going to use, but that's about it.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Seeing some real literature would be intriguing.

    I think the formal lesson plan structure is in some ways good for college students, a way to get them thinking deeply about what goes into a good lesson.

    But in practical use in the real world? Might be great for some teachers, not so much for others.
     
  15. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Our school requires minimal lesson plans. I actually really enjoy them and find them effective. We have to include daily objectives, method, standards, and assessment. The method and assessment are supposed to be short, like 1-2 words, such as "lecture" or "questioning".

    I do all of these when I plan a unit, so it isn't too much day to day work. I generally use the same standards for the whole unit. When we write our unit exams and final exams, we have to indicate which objective each question is assessing.

    We partner with a grad program at a local university. At the end of the year, they analyze the data and put together information so we can see what methods/assessment we used to teach which standards, which standards ended up with lower results, and how students did on the exams for each standard.

    I think the fact that it's done through the university makes it feel like the goal is actually to help teachers and doesn't feel like administration micromanaging our teaching.
     
  16. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I hate mandated lesson plans; they are busy work. I'm so glad my current school doesn't require them.

    I certainly keep my own style of plans and I have a spreadsheet of objectives, but the mandated templates never fit my teaching style and I still need to make my own notes.

    I'd much rather use the time tweaking my materials or creating new lessons/labs.
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This x1000

    If the principal walks into a classroom, the teacher should be able to clearly explain what is happening, going to happen, learning goal..etc. if the teacher can do this, then how they have it organized is their business.
     
  18. Rox

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    I feel it is important to learn how to create a lesson plan, but once you start teaching, it is not as necessary to write it all out. I still plan my lessons with the objectives, standards, and assessments in mind, but I don't write it out. When it is required by admin, I will write up a generic lesson plan, then change page numbers for each day. I have too much to do to worry about writing those up.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    You need to plan your lessons.

    You don't need to create a 15 page document for each lesson outlining the specific standards, modifications, accommodations, and all of the other junk 'official lesson plans' have you do.

    The only time I do this, is for a lesson that I'm being observed for because it makes it clear for my evaluator. That happens twice a year, every other year. Or for other things like National Board, BTSA, applying for a grant, etc.

    My 'lesson plans' are literally about 4-5 lines (about 2-3 words per line) listing what we're doing that day in a Google Calendar event. My unit plans a little more detailed, showing the focus question, how the activities link to the past, will be assessed, or reviewed in the future.
     
  20. Moogeeg

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    Do I make super intricate lesson plans using the templates that were used in college? Absolutely not. However, I have a lesson plan book where I write down the agenda and so on.

    My school does not require lesson plans to be submitted weekly. However, as other posters have mentioned, if admin walked in and wanted to know what we were doing, I would be able to tell them exactly why the activities have been chosen and would be able to point them to a standard or other rationale for the lesson.

     
  21. Backroads

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    I looked at my lesson plan book. I snap a photo of it each week to send to my admin. It's pretty much agenda with some objectives.
     
  22. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    :yeahthat:

    Which is why I take the detailed ones I wrote one year and submit those every year. I keep my actual ones on a notepad in my desk - and it's more accurately a log or journal of what we did, not some nebulous attempt to be Nostradamus.

    :)
     
  23. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    At my first school, we had to submit plans weekly and were expected to be following them exactly if the principal stopped in.

    Woe to you if your kids needed more time than you planned.
     
  24. MrTempest

    MrTempest Companion

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    ...or if you got done sooner than expected, then what?
     
  25. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Our lesson plans aren't for us. They're for the admin who walks in. It's the first thing they pick up. They then compare it to what's written on your info board and then to what you're doing. Covering/doing something not on your lesson plan is a big issue for them.

    We don't have to submit in advance, though. Just have them available. I don't mind doing them because it makes it easier for them to just glance at what I'm doing rather than ask me. And once you get used to it, it takes 5-10 minutes to plug in the info for that day.
     
  26. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Our county came up with a template for all teachers to follow this year. Even the best teachers are saying it takes 4-5 hours to get them done. The admin. say they are doing it wrong, putting in too much info and some are perfectionists. Not that they royally screwed up trying to standardize something that was not broken. One of our best teachers spoke up at a board meeting. She spends hours doing this and the format is not such that she can easily use it for her class. Insanity seems to reign more and more each year for the rank and file.
     
  27. gr3teacher

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    A crappy teacher with a beautifully detailed lesson plan is still a crappy teacher. A great teacher with a bare-bones lesson plan that works for them is a great teacher.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I have said many times that my student teaching year was harder than my first "real" year, and the crazy detailed lesson plans we were required to do for ST was a huge part of that. I would end up having 5 pages for a 45 minute lesson. I have never worked in a school that required lesson plans. Ever since I got my first "real" job, I've just used a bulleted list of activities to keep myself organized. My current school doesn't even require us to put objectives/standards up.
     
  29. otterpop

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    Planning ahead is helpful to some extent. Every teacher should know what they're going to teach before students arrive for the day.

    But, I think that teachers should be able to plan in whatever way they want. My current plans take me at least 3 hours of my own weekend time. My lesson plans are primarily busy work for me. In reality, I do what will work for us that day. I do have standards that we're working on, but sometimes I'll read a different story because we have more or less time and we'll practice the same standards on that story instead. Or, kids finish a worksheet early/late and they need either another assignment, or an assignment deleted from plans.

    I'd rather not do them. They are a waste of my time, and I'd be prepared for my day anyway.
     
  30. teacherguy111

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    I do them but they are very simple. I just have a running google doc that has a table for each week. I only put the activity that we are doing in each slot. Our principals do not require them or look at them.
     
  31. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Just yesterday I was teaching my lesson objective... and had to change midway when I realized I had to severely backtrack and pretty much make up a new lesson on the spot.

    It happens.
     
  32. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I remember learning that detailed lesson plans are meant for new/pre-service teachers who are still learning the craft to internalize the aspects of good planning: objective, hook, teach/practice, etc. Requiring experienced teachers (or even in-service new teachers) is a sheer waste of time and even insulting to their professional expertise.
     
  33. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    As if children will always react exactly like you plan. Idiots are making policy for teachers everyday.
     
  34. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have been required to turn in lesson plans at every school I have taught at. Generally this is has been the "skeleton plan" variety stating book pages, concept/topic, and any materials needed. This year one of my superiors (not the building admin.) is requiring other certain practices be included and highlighted each week. Even though we only have to show these practices once a week for each group (I am a specialist, and I have nine groups) it is a royal pain in the neck.
     
  35. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Bureaucrats and many administrators like paper. A hard copy they can hold in their hand is literally black and white. It's evidence. It's sort of like posting your rules on the wall. A principal can walk in with a guest, point and say, "See, discipline is taking place in this class." Without the posted rules the principal would have to explain what the teacher is DOING to create time on task and cooperation; a far more difficult skill.

    Checking lesson plans can make the principal feel like an "instructional leader". This has a certain I'm in the game ring to it. Fact many principals can't recognize elements of effective instruction may be why holding teachers accountable for content or "what" is being taught defines instructional leadership in their minds. To give feedback on the process of teaching would throw a wrench into the whole deal. Most comments from Admin' are along the lines of "You wrote you would be teaching main idea during this time but I observed 'theme' instead." It seems effective teaching has digressed into what, at what time, how often and how fast.
     
  36. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I teach at a private school, so we don't have to follow state standards. We have to turn in minimal plans every Friday in case we are absent on Mon. It's just so a sub knows what to do in the class.
     
  37. smithereyenes

    smithereyenes Rookie

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    I am so jealous of all of the people who have said they do not have to turn in lesson plans. At my school, we actually have to turn in college grade lesson plans. No lie. With the standards, I CAN statements, Objective, Activator, Procedures, Closing, Materials Used, Differentiation for all students, and homework. I might actually be able to plan a good lesson if I didn't have to spend so much time writing it. What a waste.
     
  38. GTB4GT

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    Try this....make up about 2 weeks worth of good ones. Then keep resubmitting them. Probably no one will ever really look at them. If somebody does happen to say something (highly unlikely) say you must have made an error and start submitting them going forward. I have several friends in other districts who are required to do what you are doing. they all say no one ever bothers to look at them, making the whole exercise even twice as frustrating.
     
  39. horned_Frog89

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    I too have to submit plans with our Standards, Why's, How's and everything from the warm-up to the exit ticket. Also have to include some of the 7 steps, differentiation and homework.

    They recently discussed that we need to start "turning in" our warm-ups a week at a time every Tuesday.
     
  40. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Lesson plans are compulsory where I work. We have a pro forma for them. However a powerpoint is a much better 'plan' as you can include all the resources you want, have your learning objective on there as well.

    having said that we are not expected to turn them in in advance. Only to have one available should we be formally observed.
     
  41. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We have to turn in lesson plans, but they can basically look like whatever we want within reason. Mine are very brief and it's just so I know I have a plan. I include what we're doing (journal, quiz, theme for example), the homework, and the standards.
     

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