Lesson Planning as Cornerstone to Relevant Teaching
I have made it through my first decade as an educator. While I still have a lot to learn, I am very aware that the only reason I have made it this far (while staying sane and happy) is through the time I take creating thoughtful and interesting lesson plans for my students and the colleagues alongside me.
Thankfully, I work in a district that fosters creativity and allows teachers to come together to brainstorm new ways to integrate concepts and ideas into the classroom. Through this time, my colleagues and I are able to discuss new works and websites to integrate into our curriculum, construct activities to go along with those plans, and align those activities to the Common Core State Standards.
I realize that this is not the norm for all school; however, I do believe that the creation of lesson plans allows our classroom community to stay focused on learning, it alleviates behavior problems, and it engages me right along with my students.
Here, though, is the rub. One cannot solely depend on the lesson plan template you have on hand. As an educator, you learn very quickly that the plan is simply that...a plan. It will not take long for you to find a new way or more relevant way to incite learning in your classroom.
While the planning time I have with my colleagues is valuable, we still allow the opportunity to sway from those lesson plans and let learning happen. One of the most important things I was taught in college was to “monitor and adjust”. The plan is the cornerstone, but as educators, we are able to adjust the lesson activity to suit the needs of our students. We cannot let our lesson plans, gadgets, and professional development keep us from doing what is best for kids; however, we can always stay prepared for whatever gets thrown at us.
Lesson planning is crucial because it helps you, as facilitator, prepare for the skills and strategies that you are imparting to your students. This is the very first step in classroom instruction, but it allows you to confidently and cohesively introduce new concepts and skills to the students who need them in a meaningful and creative way.