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Instructional Practice Guide: Lesson Planning (Beta)

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Grades K–High School

The Instructional Practice Guide: Lesson Planning Tool helps teachers prepare Common Core State Standard (CCSS)-aligned lessons.

What is it?  

As teachers are developing a new lesson or reviewing an existing lesson, the Lesson Planning Tool guides them through a series of prompts about the lesson content, structure, and activities to ensure the Key Shifts required by the CCSS are central to the lesson.

The tool is still in the beta phase. Please try it out and share your feedback to help improve the tool for you and your colleagues.

How to use it

Before using the Lesson Planning Tool, a teacher should choose the standard or cluster(s) of standards that the lesson is targeting. ELA teachers additionally should select the text addressed in the lesson. 

Then as you are designing or reviewing the lesson, use the tool to evaluate the degree of alignment present. Here are some additional tips for using the tool: 

  • Before beginning, you may want to click through all of the questions to get a sense of the entire tool.
  • You can move through the prompts in the order they appear by clicking “next”, or use the left-hand navigation menu to jump around the sections.
  • While you do not have to answer every question or every section, the more you complete, the more you'll get out of the tool.
  • You may start a lesson and return to it at any time. A lesson does not need to be completed in one sitting!

References to Core Actions and indicators found in the Instructional Practice Guide: Coaching Tool can be found throughout the Lesson Planning Tool. Teachers using the lesson planning tool with a coach or colleague can use these references to more easily make connections between what Common Core-aligned content and practice has been planned and what is to be observed during classroom instruction (for more information, see the “planning and coaching” section below.)  

Planning and coaching

Effective planning and constructive feedback are critical to improving instructional practice. The Instructional Practice Guide: Coaching and Lesson Planning tools support these activities by focusing specifically on ways to identify that the Key Shifts required by the CCSS are present in the classroom.  In order for teachers, colleagues, and instructional leaders to have meaningful and productive conversations that lead to changes in practice that reflect the Shifts, there must be shared expectations about how to identify evidence of the Common Core in both lesson planning and classroom observation.