Planning lessons is one of those hidden duties that can cost instructors a lot of time. Here are four suggestions for speeding up the process:

Brainstorm with Paper First

Spend 8 minutes jotting, drawing, and coming up with ideas. Think PLAYFULLY. Aim for ideas that will delight and clarify. Resist the temptation to design PowerPoint or handouts first.

Plan Like You Aren't Messing Around!

Planning is highly creative and taxing . . .When it's time to plan, do "deep work" (Cal Newport, 2016) with intensity and focus. Find a place where you can work without distractions (yup, no Twitter).

If You Get Stuck, Reach Out

Can't think of a good way to teach a topic? Write down what your issue is in the form of a question (which alone might prompt an epiphany). Give your question to a colleague or your online PLC. There are 3.1 million teachers in the U.S. Most like to help.

Save Time Next Year

At the end of the lesson, when it's still fresh, take out a sticky note and write down one thing you'd change to the lesson next time to make it better. You'll thank yourself next time you're planning the next iteration.

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Todd Finley

Edutopia Blogger and Asst. Editor || ECU Ed Professor || Founder of Todd’s Brain at www.todd-finley.com || Books: Dinkytown Braves and Rethinking Classroom Design.

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