I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think. – Socrates
Lesson planning is stressful and time-consuming, but is important in giving us an action plan for the entire school year. The way we design our curriculums and the activities we use will determine how successful our learners will be in grasping new knowledge. Lesson design and planning is important. We have our often mandated objectives as the seeds of our curriculum. They act as the vision, goals, and foundation. From the objectives, spring forth activities and ideas. They are the roots of our curriculum. Within the garden of learning is the students’ gained knowledge put into use. We can have very colorful and robust gardens of learning if we plan lessons and activities that support creativity, hands-on and real-world learning. At the same time, I realize that many of us have to ensure students pass tests and achieve learning objectives. The design of our lessons can help us achieve both. However, I realize that many of us lack the time in designing lessons to meet every objective. Luckily, I’ve been connected to 1000s of great educators on social media for the last 3 years and have found various free lesson plans. The idea is we can use some of these great ideas then we will also have the time to design other lessons with enthusiasm versus being burnt out trying to design fantastic lessons for each class. I hope you will find the following tips and resources valuable in the forthcoming school year! The majority of these lesson plans have a focus on teaching language learners because that is my subject area but many of the resources also have lesson plans for various subjects. Tweak to match the needs of your students. Watch the recording of my recent webinar on this topic here!
A Few Tips …
When planning a lesson, I think we need to keep objectives in mind but there are other factors that make up a great lesson. Anthony Gaughin conducted a fantastic webinar on this topic that you can access here. He talks about a GREAT lesson having these elements:
G- group dynamic
R- relevance to learners’ lives and needs
E-emergent language and ideas focus
To this list I would add flexibility. We need to leave room in our lessons for our students to take the learning where it needs to go. Access his slide presentation here to discover more! We can use Anthony’s thoughts as a basis for designing lessons that engage students.
Some of us will need a framework from which to build our lessons. Some of us need more structure, while others can map out our ideas. As an experienced teacher, I prefer less framework and I like to map out my lesson. The problem with relying too much on a structured lesson is that it leaves no room for flexibility. However, I could appreciate learning to structure lessons and design them to a tee in order to build confidence and learn what I should prepare for mentally.
- CELTA template to download and adapt
- A few CELTA designed lesson plans
- TEFL template to download and adapt
More Lesson Planning Tips:
- How to Plan ESL/EFL Lesson Plans– Tips by the Examiner
- Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Places to Write Lesson Plans
- Technology lesson plan templates, models, and examples from Cliff Mims– really good resource for integrating technology into the classroom
1000s of Free Lesson Plans
Here are a few places to find free lesson plans to teach English in any subject or to any age level! You can also access these in my PearlTree of Bookmarked Sites. The PearlTree will be updated regularly as I come across more lesson plan databases.
- Designer Lesson Plans ELT– fantastic site full of great lessons designed by 2 guys living in Spain
- Breaking News English– detailed lesson plans based on the news with online quizzes, games, and mp3s to supplement the activities
- ICT Lesson Plans from The Consultants-E trainees– these are well designed lesson plans that teachers complete as a part of their training. Download the PDFs for free.
- Mobile Learning Lesson Plans from The Consultants-E trainees– these are well designed lesson plans that teachers complete as a part of their training. Download the PDFs for free.
- MthatLearning– Activities and lessons involving mobile devices to learn English
- Film English– Lesson Plans based on films
- English Raven’s Children’s Curriculum with games, flashcards & more
- Digital ELT Play– lesson plans, walkthroughs, and activities that incorporate gaming for children and teens
- Debate and Discuss– Lessons to get students to debate and discuss
- Business English lesson plans from Business Spotlight
- ESL Ted Talks– Lesson plans designed around various inspiring Ted Talks
- English for Critical Thinkers– Lesson plans to get students to think critically
- Lesson Streams– Lesson plans designed around various Youtube commercials, music videos, and more!
- Dale Coulter’s Dogme Lesson Skeletons
- The Round– This is the newest place to find inexpensive lesson plan books. You can’t go wrong since this site was founded by great ELT authors, Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. If you keep up with this site then you can download free lesson ideas in PDF form when new books have featured excerpts in Labs.
- Global Critical Thinking Lesson Plans– I love these various lesson plans based on Lindsay Clandfield’s book, Global. You don’t have to have this course book to still take advantage of these great lesson plans. They even have free checklists to ensure your students meet CEF objectives.
- ESOL Courses– lots of short activities to supplement student self-study with videos and games
- Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Places to Find Good & Free Lesson Plans
- 50 Teaching and Lesson Plans that Rock by The Cool Cat Teacher
- Share My Lesson– Recommended by The Cool Cat Teacher. Find a lesson or share a lesson
- Lesson plans, interactives and so much more at Read, Write, Think!
- Lesson plans that incorporate drama for children
- Tons of lesson plans that incorporate Google apps & docs!
- Share My Lesson has nearly 255,000 teaching resources including lesson plans based on the Common Core
- Teachers First has several resources and lesson plans submitted by various teachers
- Over 3000 Common Core lesson plans by LearnZillion. Still in Beta.
Every Friday I conduct a Free Webinar thanks to American TESOL. Please check the Livebinder for times, video archives, and more.
The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators
As part of The 30 Goals Challenge I would like to inspire you to accomplish these goals:
Short-term– Design at least one lesson plan differently than you have in the past. Incorporate Anthony’s ideas and don’t spend tons of time planning. Instead, focus on jotting your ideas down in a mindmap or in a way that leaves room for your students to take the learning where they want to go. Eventually, you’ll get used to not planning every minute of your lesson and you will find you have much more free time!
Long-term– Make it a habit to map out lessons versus spending tons of time on the template and details of the lesson. Reflect on how implementing these changes helps you grow as an educator. Also, note the impact on your students.
- Lisa Dabbs and I have decided to change the hashtag to #30GoalsEdu.
- This year we are focusing on 1 to 2 goals a week in order to have time to really reflect on the tasks and respond to each other’s posts and enhance our support system for each other.
- Check out my Pinterests for other posts with this goal or ask me to add yours!
Did you reflect on this goal? Please leave a comment that you accomplished this goal by either posting your own video reflection on Youtube, using the hashtag #30GoalsEDU, posting on the 30 Goals Facebook group, adding a post to the GooglePlus page, or adding a comment below!
Be inspired with these Inspirational songs, videos, quotes, and more on my Pinterest board, Inspiration for World Changers!
Try any of these lesson plans this year and tell us how it went.