The Ultimate Lesson Planning Checklist for Primary School Teachers
Creating the ultimate lesson plan is an art. To help, here's our ultimate lesson planning checklist!
There is nothing more satisfying than delivering a fantastic lesson. One that captivates your class – and you deliver seamlessly, safe in the knowledge that all your pupils have learnt something valuable, exciting and inspiring.
We all know that a lot of thought and preparation goes into every lesson. Lesson planning can be time-consuming but it's important to get the details right.
So, how can we ensure the planning that goes on behind the scenes is time well-spent?
Our ultimate lesson planning checklist includes straightforward, simple, time-saving tips that are easy to put into practice and will help to reduce your teacher workload regardless of the teaching strategies you use.
The ultimate lesson planning checklist
1 - Be passionate about the subject you are teaching
If you aren’t engaged and interested in the subject you are teaching, how can you expect your pupils to be? Of course, not every single topic in the national curriculum is going to fill you with delight, but taking the time to find a hook that will engage your class – will make all the difference. You don’t have to find this hook on your own, ask your colleagues, or look for inspiration on social media, someone is bound to give you an idea that will help you and your class feel passionate about the topic you are teaching.
2 - Take into account the different needs and requirements of your pupils
Differentiating lessons is something us teachers think a lot about. We know that in a class of primary children everyone won’t learn at the same pace, or have the same interests or needs. Think carefully about how you are going to make the lesson challenging but achievable for everyone. Consider differentiated activity ideas and who will get adult support during the lesson.
3 - Make sure the lesson is relevant and give it context
It is no secret that everyone learns better when they are given a context for the skills they are developing. Lessons should have progression and context to ensure pupils understand how their learning forms part of a bigger picture. If you can effectively convey the value of the learning, your children are more likely to be motivated and engaged. This approach stops children from assigning a skill to a domain, for example we have all seen children with a domain knowledge of spelling, that is where they get their spellings right in a spelling test, or maybe an English lesson, but not in another area of the curriculum.
4 - Set out clear, simple objectives
First and foremost you need to be clear on what the objective of the lesson is. This might sound obvious but it can be easy for a lesson to change course as it takes shape in the planning process so always go back and double check your objectives.
5 - Have a backup plan
Even if you are confident you have a totally engaging, perfectly executed, foolproof lesson plan prepared, there are always unexpected things that can happen during your lesson which might throw you off track. Having an alternative backup plan for when things do go wrong can be helpful to fall back on if necessary. Download free topic themed word searches or crosswords as time filling activities.
There are loads of places to get primary lesson planning tips, from social media teachers communities to websites like PlanBee. If you decide you are going to go it alone with the planning then starting with a clear lesson plan is a must.
What should your lesson plan template include?
To ensure anyone can walk into your class, pick up your planning and teach your lesson with ease, make sure you have space on your lesson planning template for all of these sections:
- Teaching input
- Main activity
- Important questions
- Space to note down your observations
You may also like to include these in your lesson plan structure:
- Likely misconceptions
- Questions for mini plenaries
- Specific notes for your TA
- Highlighted important teaching points
- Extension ideas
- Notes on where this lesson fits into a series of lessons
Planning a lesson well gets easier over time. We believe this lesson planning checklist will help you plan better. As you get to know your class, the national curriculum objectives for your year group and form a good working relationship with the adults you work with, most of these steps become second nature.
In our opinion, the most important thing to remember is that, if the lesson isn’t going well, you shouldn't be afraid to deviate from the plan. Teaching is about knowing your stuff and then not being afraid to deviate from the plan when necessary. Our lesson planning checklist should help you prepare a great lesson. That said, if you’re still not sure where to start then check out these free lesson plan examples. We have several to choose from so whether you are looking for free Kandinsky planning, free Paris Geography lessons or free maths plans we’ve got you covered!