Teaching Resources

How to prepare a lesson plan

by Adam Ormrod
on April 25, 2016


It’s common for teachers to dread outlining their weekly lesson plans — so believe us, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the UK Department for Education, thirty eight per cent of teachers viewed detailed lesson planning as an unnecessary burden to their already overwhelming workload. And TES Connect discovered that 70 per cent of teachers pulled “all-nighters” to complete their workload!

Of course, lesson planning is critical for effective teaching, and we’re not suggesting you begin a class unprepared — however, drafting painstakingly detailed daily lesson plans does intensify teacher stress.

At Pobble, we hate seeing brilliant teachers exhausted in the morning. So, we’ve come up with a few ideas to help ease lesson planning. Here we go:

1. Use the resources around you

There are dozens of helpful teacher resources out there, just waiting for you to take advantage of them. If you know where to look, you can find fantastic lessons in just a few minutes.

Twitter is full of ideas, for example. Just be sure to follow the right people. Teacher Toolkit shared this extensive list of 101 top educators to follow on Twitter!

Starter of the Day by Transun is another great resource, offering teachers a new, innovative way to start their mathematics lessons each morning.

And, of course, Pobble 365 was designed just for this reason, to help teachers save time and ease their workload while still providing great lessons for their pupils. Each day, Pobble 365 is updated with new lessons, activities, and challenges that teachers can incorporate into their lessons.

2. Don’t plan for anyone else but you

It’s important to remember that lesson planning is to help YOU, and no one else. Yes, headteachers and subject leaders might want to see some sort of plan, but an overview of that week’s activity is typically enough. Just be sure to set long term goals in the beginning of each term, outlining which genres of writing you’d like to touch on, etc. A rough outline will help you stay on track throughout the term.

There is no reason to stay up all hours of the night tediously drafting a weekly or daily lesson plan. As long as you can understand your own notes, that’s great! Keep it simple and flexible, you can always add to your lesson plan and change it along the way.

3. Plan in a team

Multiple minds are better than one. If you’ve come up with an awesome lesson plan, share your ideas or helpful tips with your fellow teachers. If you’re stuck on a lesson plan, or just curious what worked well for your more experienced colleagues, ask them what’s helped in the past.

Or, go as far to even share the workload by planning lessons together, grouping students across classrooms, and assigning the same homework. This way, you have a friend to help who’s also in the same situation as you.

4. Annotate it

In the margins of your lesson plan, jot down some helpful notes as you go along: the pace of the lesson, which pupils to call on, which questions to ask, and what to write on the board. It will also help you in the future to remember which lessons have gone well and which have been a disaster!  

Also, while you’re taking notes, look out for which sections spark your pupils’ imaginations, likes and interests. If one section is particularly successful, don’t be afraid to focus more heavily on that part and take your lesson in a slightly different direction — just make sure your lesson plan is flexible enough to make this possible.

5. Go in with a positive mindset

See planning as an opportunity to be creative rather than a tedious requirement. A positive mindset can go a long way. Think about the teachers you loved growing up and remember how passionate and enthusiastic they were — after all, that’s why you remember them. Lesson planning is difficult, but we’re confident you can make lesson planning work for you.

We hope our suggestions helped! Do you have any other ideas we missed? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.