An Approach to Lesson Planning

Some districts have a template all teachers must follow in writing their lesson plans, while others leave the form to the teacher, perhaps only requiring that certain specified elements be included. My purpose here is not to prescribe what should be included in a lesson plan, but instead to suggest an overriding outline or approach … Continue reading An Approach to Lesson Planning

Things We Can Learn About Teaching from Coach Belichick

I'm pretty sure many of us use sports analogies with our students. Whether it's a point to be made about teamwork, the importance of practice, or any of a number of other important subjects, sports seems to be an effective way to make this kind of thing relevant to students. I believe that the most … Continue reading Things We Can Learn About Teaching from Coach Belichick

Creative Flexibility Can Save The Day

As we enter another holiday season, I'm sure many of you who teach have already noticed the children getting a bit excited. Often, managing classroom behavior becomes more difficult as holiday anticipation and excitement builds. For this reason, it is good at this time of year to consider strategies that will help us stay on … Continue reading Creative Flexibility Can Save The Day

Balancing Attention Span with Time to Learn

It is well known that our youngest students, those ages 3 to 5 or 6, have shorter attention spans than older children. One way of handling this is planning many relatively short activities, so that the children go from one activity to the next before their attention is over taxed. With well practiced transitions, this … Continue reading Balancing Attention Span with Time to Learn

Seeing the Forest in Lesson Planning

Many music teachers plan their instruction in units. A unit on playing recorder, a unit on composing, a unit on African drum circles, or what have you. This is a good practice. What makes it good is that it gives teachers a structure for a sequence of lessons. The end goal is stated at the … Continue reading Seeing the Forest in Lesson Planning

Supercharge Your Music Lesson Plans

While  lesson planning is essential to delivering quality instruction, I must admit that I often don't enjoy writing lesson plans. The task often becomes more time consuming than I would like as I search for materials that will be just right for a particular class and objective. While there is a certain flow from one … Continue reading Supercharge Your Music Lesson Plans

Planning Instruction Part 2

In the first part of this series, I discussed classroom management strategies. Classroom management includes everything under the teacher's control that affects the learning environment, and ranges from arrangement of furniture, to routines and procedures, to student behavior plans. All of these things must be part of the planning process. Effective teachers think through the … Continue reading Planning Instruction Part 2

The Power of the Exit Ticket

Exit tickets are a helpful and efficient tool for assessing student learning. While you (should) have communicated your objective and expectations for students at the beginning of the lesson, and while students may have completed all work that you assigned for them to do during the lesson, none of this gives is a reliable indicator … Continue reading The Power of the Exit Ticket

Before the Lesson Plan

Teachers know that quality instruction doesn't just happen by chance in the classroom, and trying to improvise lessons just doesn't work. Quality instruction has to be planned. Certainly flexibility will be needed, and everything will not always go as planned, but teaching without planning will not result in significant learning. What many teachers do not … Continue reading Before the Lesson Plan