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. Download the slides here.
Get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers and Learning to Go.
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 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.
Some of us need a framework from which to build our lessons. This can be a structured template, sketchnote, or mind map of our lesson plan. 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.
- 10 Great Lesson Plan Models with examples
- Mind map of a lesson plan
- Sketchnote of a lesson plan
- CELTA template to download and adapt
- TEFL template to download and adapt
Sites For Free Lesson Plans
- Read, Write, Think– tons of lesson plans and interactives to get students writing.
- Google literacy lesson plans– students learn how to be better online researchers.
- Share My Lesson– nearly 255,000 teaching resources including lesson plans based on the Common Core.
- Teachers First– several resources, units, and lesson plans submitted by various teachers.
- Learn Zillion– several lesson plans you can search by subject.
- TED Ed Lessons– download transcripts and free lesson plans. Create your own lesson plans based on famous TED Talks.
- Microsoft– find Skype lesson plans, virtual field trips and more.
- Curriki– find several lessons and curated collections.
- Canva– visual lesson plans that incorporate Canva’s digital poster and presentation creation tool.
- Find many more lesson plans at these sites- Teach-nology, Teachers.Net, Lessons A to Z, Lesson Planet, Scholastic, Hot Chalk, Kids Discover, The Teacher’s Corner, and Learning Bird.
Free ESL Lesson Plan Sites
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.
- Sean Banville has various sites with over 4000 free lesson plans you can download as PDFs. Each lesson plan is accompanied by online quizzes, games, and mp3s to supplement the articles. The sites are Breaking News English, Movies, ESL Discussions, Famous People, ESL Holidays, Business English, Listen a Minute, and American Presidents.
- Film English– lesson plans based on films.
- Debate and Discuss– lesson plans to get students to debate and discuss issues.
- ESL Ted Talks– lesson plans you can download as pdfs designed around various inspiring Ted Talks.
- Lesson Streams– lesson plans you can download as pdfs designed around various Youtube commercials, music videos, and more!
- Designer Lessons– lesson plans based on videos for language teachers.
- Child Drama- lesson plans for children that incorporate drama.
If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.