Free Lesson Plan Template
Lesson plans are something teachers will never stop needing, no matter what grade level or subject is being taught. There are many different free lesson plan templates you can find online and they all generally have a similar outline. Of course, you may need different variations of free lesson plan templates depending on what population and subject you teach.
If you’re looking for a blank copy of a free lesson plan template for Special Education, click here. This free lesson plan template can actually be used for any subject/class since it is a basic foundation for creating lesson plans. Here’s a quick rundown explaining each part of this free lesson plan template:
Unit Objective: What do you want your students to learn from this unit? Look at the bigger picture here. At the end of this unit, what skills do you want your students to be able to demonstrate or understand? Make sure it’s attainable and appropriate for the level of learner you have. Depending on what class you teach, unit objectives could be in line with the standards of learning OR aligned standards of learning for your state/school district.
Lesson Objective: What specific skill or idea do you want your student to understand or demonstrate? How will you get your students to learn the unit objective? Break down the unit into smaller lessons to help your students reach the end game. It’s okay if you have a lot of smaller lessons, sometimes students need things to be broken down into their smallest/easiest form to understand concepts.
Depending on the level of learner you teach and what subject you are teaching, you may even have a different lesson objective for each student and that’s okay too. As long as you’re keeping track and they are all still moving in the right direction. Be sure you know what the main goal of each lesson is and what the most important thing you want your students to get out of each lesson. You can still follow this free lesson plan template.
Warm Up Activity: Ask those leading questions that get their brain juices flowing! What do you guys know about ____? Who knows what ____ is? What would you do if _____? These questions will vary depending on what type of lesson you’re teaching.
Sometimes I show a brief video clip related to the lesson. Then I ask students… what are your thoughts on what you just saw? This starts the dialogue and gets students in the mindset of being more open to listen to what you have to say.
If you’re teaching something academic like Math or Reading, this can also just be a short ½ sheet of paper with a few questions on it to get students ready and available to learn (sometimes, that’s the biggest struggle!).
Guided Instruction: This will be where you teach your lesson. Many teachers have different methods and styles of teaching. I like to use power points and technology to help keep the focus of my students, no matter what I’m teaching. Even for our students with severe disabilities, the power point gives them a focus point so they can at the very least, visually attend to the lesson.
Be sure to not just lecture and have a one-way conversation with yourself during your lesson. Try to involve your students as much as you can. Engage your students so they’ll stay with you through the lesson.
Use a multi modal approach to teaching. We know that all students don’t learn the same way, so if we can break up instruction and come at students with different approaches and strategies, that equals a higher rate of success. Think about your students and all the ways they learn. Visuals. Hands on activities. Verbal questioning, etc.
Try to make teaching a 2-way dialogue so students can stay engaged. I know it’s not always possible depending on the topic you are teaching, but if it’s possible, go for it.
Guided Work/Activity: In the next portion of the free lesson plan template, it’s a good idea to do some kind of activity following the instructional part of the lesson. This can be something really small and short to something bigger that requires more work and planning. This also helps keep the students engaged in learning. I find that doing these types of activities also helps students retain information better (not always, but it helps!).
You can also do partner activities, jeopardy with teams, answer questions for points or candy, OR if you’re teach life skills, this is where you have students stand up and get hands on! For example, practice vacuuming, sweeping, practice making phone calls, using the vending machine etc.
If I have other video clips, I show them at this time as well.
This is also a good time for students to get some of their energy out, or take a break from just sitting and listening. Then you can bring them back as they move to their independent work.
This won’t be the same activity for every lesson but at least it’s a good way to break things up and keep your class focused.
Independent Work: In every lesson you should always have independent work (or as independent as your students are able to). This is a way for you to check for understanding and see what your students understand, or where you need to reteach. Depending on the level of learner in your classroom, this could be more simple activities such as matching words to pictures related to the lesson, verbal questioning, or could be answering comprehension questions (multiple choice or short answer), writing prompts etc.
Review: At the end of each lesson, bring the class back together. Go over what you just learned. Have students tell you what they learned today. This is also another way to check for understanding or clarify and answer questions that students might have from their independent work.
Reiterate why it’s important to learn this information.
You can tell students what you’ll teach about tomorrow or the direction of the lessons/unit.
Lesson Extension: How will you build upon this lesson? Think about the skills you introduced/taught today and look at the big picture. Where do you want your students to go from here? What will the skills they learned today, help them achieve next?
Post Lesson: If there’s any time left after your lesson, this is when I give students ‘break time’ to get on their phones or enjoy classroom appropriate leisure activities (computer, puzzles, books, magazines, quiet chatting with friends etc.). If your students don’t do well with ‘unstructured free time’, you could even do fun/non stressful activities like word searches, crossword puzzles, etc. that are on topic of the lesson you taught that day.
A few reminders, as mentioned in a previous blog:
As you continue planning the next lessons in your unit…
Use what you learned from your students when you checked for understanding (verbally or written work). This will help you take the right direction on your upcoming lessons. You’ll get a better idea of what approach or strategies work best as well as a better hold on what ideas/concepts may take more time to teach.
Keep the end goal in mind. Again, depending on what you teach, think about what are the main skills or concepts you want your students to gain from this unit. They may not get everything, but what are the most important things you want your students to get from this unit?
Remember, as you teach, you’re still learning too! Sometimes, lessons completely tank. No one teaches awesome lessons every time. Sometimes they are terrible and students just do not get what you’re trying to say. THAT IS NORMAL!!!! Lesson learned. This has happened to every teacher, so don’t worry. This is where you can go back, figure out what you can do different next time.
ADAPT. MODIFY. RETEACH. TRY DIFFERENT APPROACHES.
This is a basic free lesson plan template that I follow when planning my lessons. Sometimes I still write my plans down to make sure I’ve covered everything I am aiming to do. Since I have used this same free lesson plan template so many times and for so many years, it’s become automatic in my thinking process. Every time I plan a lesson, I’m always thinking about how I can engage my students. What can I do different today to pull them into this insanely boring topic I have to teach? How can I make them care about this? No matter what topic you’re teaching, you can follow this general plan. I have used this same free lesson plan template to teach English, Math, History, Career Preparation, Life Skills, Cooking, Work Awareness & Transition, and more!
At many schools and districts, it is required to turn in actual lesson plans in, so this is a good template that’s easy to use and organize your ideas. When leaving substitute plans, it’s also a great idea to leave plans using this free lesson plan template. Substitutes will have no questions about what they are teaching that day and have a clear plan for the class. The better we prepare our substitutes; the less meaningful instruction needs to be interrupted when you are not at school. Yes, of course subs should not be teaching brand new material, but this is still a great way to review lessons/skills as well.
If you are teaching students with severe disabilities, your lesson planning might look a bit different. Instead of just 1 objective for the entire class, you may have different objectives for each one of your students. However, the same guideline to planning and writing lesson plans still applies.
There is not one right way to write lesson plans. You just have to find the one that works best for you to help you meet the various needs of your students. After planning full class lesson plans, sometimes you may need to do small group or give some students some extra attention. When working with smaller groups, you can still use this free lesson plan template. Of course, it’ll need to be adapted to fit the population you teach as well as how many kiddos you’re working with. However, this template is still beneficial to follow.
INTRODUCE. INSTRUCT/TEACH. PRACTICE. CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING. REVIEW or RETEACH.
Please, don’t forget that teaching is still a learning process and we learn as we go. You’ll find out what works best for you and your students. Once you get it, it’ll become part of your routine and lesson planning will come a lot easier. It really does become embedded in the way you think as an educator and it will feel a lot more natural. I wish you the best of luck as you go head planning and writing your own lesson plans. Use this free lesson plan template as a foundation/guide and go for it!