Lesson planning is without a doubt the most time consuming part of teaching. I would regularly spend 4-5 hours planning a single lesson. I had a format that I thought was working: vocab, notes, worksheet. In retrospect, I was the Sage on the Stage for at least 35 of the 70 minute class periods.
What I didn't realize was this one thing: Knowledge. Is. Cheep.
These students can Google the answer to anything. They can look up a video or picture of any concept. They have Alexa, Siri, YouTube, and even TikTok as resources. My students did NOT need me to give them information.
So let's rethink "lesson planning." I was traditionally planning a list of things for the students to DO. They would DO vocabulary. They would DO notes. They would DO a worksheet. I never thought about what I wanted students to LEARN. And how were they going to learn it? And how would I know they learned it?
Lesson planning should start with what you want the students to learn based on your required curriculum. Look for the NOUNS and the VERBS. Let's look over this example from my state's core:
"Analyze and interpret data to construct an explanation for the changes in Earth’s formation and 4.6 billion year history."
Now we want to design a lesson that helps students learn the nouns by way of the verbs. There is a way to do this where students take charge of their own learning. In the end, it is the students who will be doing more work than you!
Here are some of the ways you could do this:
Each of these ideas requires just 10-20 minutes of prep time (and possibly just as long for you to learn the right answers ahead of time), but can take students an entire class period. All you need to do is to help redirect the students when they are on the wrong path or have questions!
Next time you are stumped with your lesson planning, look for opportunities for students to figure it out on their own. They do not need knowledge bestowed upon them. They need the chance to do the groundwork and synthesize their learning.