If you’re a new teacher, there’s one thing all your seasoned colleagues will tell you if they haven’t already: lesson plans can make or break your school day (or week or even year). After all, it’s true what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
A lesson plan is a roadmap for ensuring you cover everything you need to during your day in order to make sure your students meet all the goals of preschool education, including language, social skills, cognitive goals, and more.
Additionally, for early childhood education pros, lesson plans are critical because toddlers crave structure and predictability, and by making sure your day is mapped out, you create a more structured environment (which provides children with a sense of safety and helps reduce anxiety in your classroom).
Below are five lesson planning tips to help you use your curriculum and creativity to create plans your students will love.
Begin With the End in Mind
First and foremost, consider looking at the educational outcomes you want for your students (what they ideally will learn by the end of the year in order to be set up for success the following year), and work backward with those in mind.
This is one of our favorite lesson planning tips for a number of reasons. One, this will help you set clear, measurable learning goals. Two, this strategy is beneficial for mapping out how much time you’ll need to complete each lesson. By mapping out your time, it prevents you from dragging out certain lessons or trying to cram others in. And three, starting with the end in mind will better help you plan for assessing your students’ progress.
Understand How You’ll Assess Student Achievement
Assessment is a key ingredient in ensuring students meet their education goals. That’s why it’s imperative that lesson plans for new teachers incorporate assessments.
Assessment is the process of gathering info about a student – either during learning activities or observing them through play – and then using that information to plan age- and developmentally-appropriate activities for the classroom moving forward on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Like anything else, we gravitate towards the things we do best or prefer (and shy away from the things we don’t do as well or like as much).
The reason this is one of our important lesson planning tips is so you can understand yourself when creating your lesson plans.
As a child, you might have enjoyed art tremendously while shying away from math. Now, when it comes to classroom instruction, you may subconsciously focus on or spend more time with arts and crafts over math. And that time can add up over the course of the year, meaning less time spent on other subjects.
Just remember, you want to be aware of how much time you’re dedicating to various subjects and activities and try your hardest to ensure the time is split evenly.
More than any other grade in school, you have the flexibility to let your creativity run wild when lesson planning for toddlers. Not only is this one of the more fun aspects of lesson planning for new teachers, but it’s an extremely valuable strategy.
For instance, say you’re dealing with a classroom full of energetic students who can’t seem to sit still. Instead of forcing them to remain in their seats while you learn about animals, have them move around the room, imitating the animals you’re learning about.
Talk to Your Colleagues
As a new teacher, you might subscribe to the “fake it ‘til you make it philosophy.” After all, you don’t want to come across like you don’t know what you’re doing.
That’s why it’s important to understand that it’s OK if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing because everyone’s been in the same boat as you.
Also, don’t be afraid to look to your peers for input and suggestions. After all, everyone is there for the same reason: to see the kiddos reach their goals. If you’re hitting a roadblock or just want some advice about a particular lesson plan, reach out and collaborate with your fellow educators.
Interested in learning more about lesson planning for new teachers? ChildCare Education Institute has you covered with a number of quick online courses!
For instance, our Bright Beginnings: Age Appropriate Activities for Infants and Toddlers course covers the importance of developmentally appropriate and individually appropriate activities in the classroom.
And our Active Learning Experiences in Early Childhood course covers practical methods for integrating movement, active involvement, and group games across all curriculum areas, including art, language arts, mathematics, music, science, and social studies.
Visit ChildCare Education Institute to learn more about all our 150+ courses and see why 99% of users would recommend us to a friend!