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10 clever ways to simplify lesson planning

Keeping up with lesson planning is often a tedious teaching task. Because lesson plan is an educational duty most teachers don’t anticipate, the organization is an essential part of developing your lessons. 

To simplify lesson planning, you need an organized system to help you carry on other necessary teaching duties.

Many teachers use planners, calendars, reminders, and electronic devices to create lesson plans. These personal, organizational tools are useful when used systematically.

Helping you stay organized with different systems don’t support you in other areas of teaching. Essential teaching duties involve assessments, student-directed instruction, curriculum standards, and interpersonal parent-teacher involvement.

Consequently, you might need to approach lesson planning in a very simplistic, organized manner. Here I show you simple, practical tools you can add to simplify lesson planning at any time.

Useful lesson planning tools

Finding the ideal lesson plan is perhaps the most challenging aspect of teaching. Evidentially, when you teach more than one subject or have more than one specialized class, you need an organization plan.

While you might have a framework of a lesson plan, you could want a template or master lesson plan to create a lesson plan quickly. In fact, having a lesson plan template helps you in developing emergency lessons, substitute lessons, and supplemental lessons.

Here is a collection of tools to simplify lesson planning:

1. Teaching Channel – New Teacher Survival Guide: Planning

In this brief instructional video, you follow a new year teacher during her lesson planning process. You get to experience how to set goals for your lesson plans.

2. Hot Chalk Lesson Plan – Lesson Plan Template

This source offers a quick guide to create a lesson plan template. It also shows you additional resources to create lesson plan templates for many subjects.

3. William Paterson University – Lesson Planning

In this resource, you’ll find lesson plan templates in easy to download formats. Early childhood, music, and physical education lesson plan templates are a few examples.

4. Pinterest – lesson plan templates

One of the best resources in teaching is Pinterest. When you use the lesson plan template search, many models and sources show you plenty of choices. Most of the templates easily customize to your instructional needs.

5. Teacher Planet – lesson plan templates

This site has a specific section dedicated to lesson plan templates. Choose from grade level, subject, or type to create the ideal lesson plan. Furthermore, it offers additional support for lesson planning and lesson generating.

simplify lesson planning

Simplify lesson planning with paper planners

Although many teachers prefer planning online, other groups of teachers are comfortable with paper planners. With a wide variety of planners available for teachers, choose the best option for your instructional goals.

Here are some favorite paper planners:

6. Teacher binders

A very convenient way to stay organized, teacher binders are ideal for quick jot down of ideas. Many binders use friendly user categories such as monthly, daily, weekly, quarterly, and semester planning.

If you want to plan and decide what’s the best curriculum for your students, teacher binders help you stay focused and organized.

7. Traditional paper planners

Of course, traditional paper planners and calendars are still a great option for any teacher. If you prefer to jot down your lesson plans for the month or week, just only use a big paper planner to access your ideas easily.

To simplify lesson planning, you can also use a dry-erase calendar to write down lesson ideas in different colors for each subject.

Time-saving lesson planning activities

Lesson planning is time-consuming. You might spend hours trying to modify, collect, and organize your lesson plan ideas. To simplify your lesson planning, try these activities:

8. Study the best times to lesson plan:

  • Use a timer or stopwatch to monitor how long it takes to write a lesson
  • Have lesson plan templates ready to go on your computer
  • Think about the convenient times to plan (end of the day, morning)
  • Carry a notepad to jot down ideas
  • Find a teacher mentor to help you develop lesson plan ideas

9. Create a teacher portfolio or carry-on:

  • Take your lesson planner with you wherever you go
  • Use those extra minutes while waiting for meetings or appointments
  • Plan a tentative week or a month ahead while waiting
  • Use map concepts to develop ideas for activities in your teacher binder
  • Carry extra planner templates to insert into your binder easily

Technology to simplify lesson planning

If you’re the teacher that loves technology to make teaching duties painless, then electronic apps will simplify lesson planning in a breeze. With so many apps and online organizers, you can develop lesson plans on your computer, to easily access them anywhere.

10. Here are some lesson plan apps for your organization:

  • Common Curriculum Lesson Planner
  • Planboard by Chalk.com
  • Standards Planner
  • PlanbookEdu
  • Google Classroom – Slides, Docs, Sheets
  • ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard
  • Teachers.io

Simplify lesson planning by scheduling your time efficiently with steps that work in your life. Although not every teacher prefers one type of lesson planning over the other, it all comes down how much time you have to dedicate to planning and scheduling.

A teacher’s life is not an easy one. You have a life outside the classroom that doesn’t depend on spending hours planning. Use every tool available to you in instruction and planning to make teaching life easier.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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