This post outlines how to write a lesson plan quickly and with ease.
Yes, it’s possible to write a quality lesson plan in a relatively short amount of time!
No need to spend too much of your precious planning time writing an unnecessarily long teaching game plan.
The key is in the K.I.S.S. model – Keep It Super Simple!
When it comes to writing lesson plans, you’ve got to do things smarter, not harder.
Related: To streamline your planning even more, dive into our lesson planning tools that elementary teachers love!
How to Write a Lesson Plan Quickly: The K.I.S.S. Method
In a nutshell, here are the core steps of the K.I.S.S. method:
- Select the learning objective(s).
- Draft an interesting hook and mini-lesson.
- List the guided-practice activities.
- Choose 1 or 2 formal/informal assessments.
You may be thinking that the steps are similar to every other lesson plan format you’ve seen, but the key is in how you write the information in the K.I.S.S. template.
If you’re a brand new teacher, you may require more time in getting used to the concise format of the K.I.S.S lesson plan writing method.
In the beginning, you may want to write your lesson plans in a more detailed fashion until your teaching style and instructional practices become more set, polished, and streamlined.
After a while, so much of what goes into teaching a lesson becomes more natural, and you’ll find that you can spend less time doing detailed planning.
This is where the K.I.S.S lesson plan template comes into play.
The K.I.S.S. Lesson Plan Template
The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple) basic lesson plan template is essentially summarizing your lessons into four (4) concise parts: an OBJECTIVE, a BEFORE, a DURING, and an AFTER.
Think of yourself as putting on a show for your students, with your performance divided into four (4) segments.
Every show has a…
- Theme (learning OBJECTIVE).
- Hook (lesson introduction/mini-lesson) BEFORE
- Plot of Events (Guided-Practice Activities) DURING
- Finale (Assessments). AFTER
1. The learning objective(s) come from your mandated curriculum.
2. The lesson introduction is where you grab the students’ attention and introduce the learning objective. Teacher modeling is an essential part of the BEFORE part of a lesson plan.
3. The guided-practice activities make up the DURING part of the lesson plan and provide students with opportunities to apply the skill or strategy they just learned about during the mini-lesson.
4. Informal and formal assessments done AFTER the practice activities help the teacher know how well students grasped the learning objective(s). The teacher uses this information for future lesson planning.
The key when using the K.I.S.S. lesson plan template is the formatting of information.
This is done through concise summarization.
Summarizing and recording only the main parts of the lesson has its benefits…
- You save time.
After a while, you’ll be able to knock a few subjects out within an hour and a half!
- Overwhelm is at a minimum.
The stress of getting every little detail right within your lesson plan is gone.
When working with kids, your plan most likely won’t go exactly as planned.
With the K.I.S.S. lesson plan template, you’ll still have the confidence to teach the lesson because of a well-thought out, solid lesson plan foundation without all the fluff.
- Your lessons have ample room for flexibility.
Teachable moments are part of daily instruction – those “aha” moments are amazing!.
A concise, basic lesson plan format such as the K.I.S.S. strategy allows educators to marinate for a moment in those unscripted moments without the anxiety of getting too off-track.
Steps of the K.I.S.S. Lesson Plan Template
Let’s work smarter, not harder when it comes to writing your lesson plans.
The Hard (But Delightfully-Detailed!), Time-Consuming Way:
Below is a detailed lesson plan.
Let’s transform it using the K.I.S.S. basic lesson plan format.
Before Implementing the K.I.S.S Method
Topic: Three-dimensional shapes
Objective: Students will be able to classify and sort two- and three-dimensional figures, including cones, cylinders, spheres, triangular and rectangular prisms, and cubes, based on attributes using formal geometric language. (Texas Math TEK: Standard 3.6 A)
Grade level: 3rd
Vocabulary: cone, attribute, height, width, depth, sphere, cube, cylinder, prism, figure, face, edge, vertex
Materials: manipulatives in the form of solids, semantic feature analysis graphic organizer (1 per child), various 2D shapes drawn on individual sheets of paper, 3-2-1 exit ticket
To start the lesson, show learners the square drawn on a sheet of paper.
Next, show a die or other solid figure in the form of a cube to the class. Ask what observations they have regarding the similarities and differences between the square and the die.
Ask them the following questions:
- Are you able to enclose the die with your hand?
- What about the square? Can you wrap that drawing with your hand?
Now perform the same procedure using a rectangle drawing. Afterwards, show them the cereal box and ask the same questions as above.
Here’s the essential question to ask…
- What is the main difference between the shapes drawn on the pieces of paper and the objects?
Accept logical responses and delve deeper if understanding isn’t clear.
At this point, confirm to students that both the die and cereal box are 3D figures.
Seek prior knowledge from the learners about 3D shapes.
Explain that three-dimensional means that the objects have width (indicate width with your hand to the width of the box), height (indicate height of the box) and depth (as indicate to students using actual object).
Further elaborate how each of the objects can be categorized based on their attributes.
With the children, show all the objects while naming each with their appropriate geometric term (e.g. die-cube, prism-cereal box, cylinder-can of soda and sphere- tennis ball).
Using one of the solids manipulates, model identifying and naming the attributes of each form.
Do another example if students need.
An anchor chart is a great tool to create during this mini-lesson so that learners how something to refer to when working on guided activities.
So that the kids get practice in categorizing and naming solid shapes, put them into groups of 3 or 4.
Have your Paper Distributor student helper or other appropriate student classroom helper distribute a semantic feature analysis graphic organizer to each child along with a set of solids manipulatives to each group.
With their group members, students will analyze the attributes of each solid and record observations on the semantics feature analysis graphic organizer.
Walk around to observe and facilitate as needed.
Students will now work individually.
Do the 3-2-1 exit ticket informal assessment to grasp how well learners absorbed the learning objective.
3 attributes that can be used to describe a solid
2 objects in the form of a cylinder
1 new vocabulary word learned during the lesson
How to Differentiate: During the guided practice group activity, the teacher will pull a small group in order to help those who require a bit more support with a targeted learning objective.
Appropriate accommodations will apply as needed for specific learners.
Extension Activities: Shapes and Solids are Everywhere! readers theater script partner script
The Smart Way using K.I.S.S lesson plan template:
Summarize the big tasks.
It’ll look something like this…
In the above examples, “RA” stands for read aloud.
Using abbreviations like this allows you to squeeze in as much essential information as possible.
My shorthand “abbreviations” look like this…
Obj: (for objective)
B- (for before)
D- (for during)
A- (for after)
Other abbreviations I’ve used…
- RA= read aloud
- RT= reader’s theater
- ML= mini-lesson
- GP= guided practice
- PK= prior knowledge
- GO= graphic organizer
- T-P-S= think-pair-share
- W= whole group
- SM= small group
- 1 to 1= teacher conferencing
- WS= worksheet
- CTR = learning centers
- MD= model/demonstrate
Your short-hand abbreviations are unique to you and should include whichever symbols make things clear and easy for you to understand.
What about all of the lesson plan details?
When you’re planning, you’ll have all of that information more or less in your head.
It’s not necessary to write down every little detail unless you’re brand new at writing lesson plans or mandated to do so.
Another detailed lesson plan, written in a time-consuming, detailed way.
Before Implementing the K.I.S.S Method
Topic: Finding the Main Idea
Objective: Students will be able to identify the details or facts that support the main idea. (Texas Reading TEK: Standard 3.13 A)
Grade level: 3rd/4th
Vocabulary: main idea, detail, summary, big idea, message
Materials: video on finding the main idea, plastic hanger (1 per student), string, cloud/rain drops graphic organizer template, concentric circle posters/anchor chart, a read aloud book focusing on main idea
First, the teacher will show students a BrainPop Jr. main idea video to grab their attention.
Afterwards, she will seek learners’ prior knowledge with a main idea concentric circle activity.
To do this, the teacher takes an anchor chart that has a blank main idea concentric circle drawn on it.
She then lists a bunch of closely or loosely-related terms (or images) on the outer part of the concentric circle.
As a whole group, students discuss what could be the main idea of the items and provide rationales for their responses.
After coming to a consensus, the teacher (or a student) records the main idea in the inner circle.
Afterwards, to practice finding the main idea, the teacher places learners in pairs.
Each pair receives a nonfiction short text based on a current social studies or science unit.
With their partners, learners will read the text, choose a section, and then create a main idea mobile from that section.
A model of a completed main idea model hangs in the classroom as a reference.
Before student pairs begin, the teacher reviews the activity instructions and checks for understanding.
Since readers have been learning about finding the main idea for about two weeks now, it’s time for a formal assessment.
After reading a grade-appropriate fiction or non-fiction text, each student will, individually, complete a main idea graphic organizer that depicts the main idea of the entire text or a segment of it.
A rubric accompanies the assignment to guide students.
How to Differentiate: During the guided practice main idea mobile activity, pairs are strategically partnered depending on reading levels and learning styles.
The teacher pulls a small group during guided practice time in order to scaffold the learning for those readers struggling with the learning objective.
Furthermore, appropriate accommodations apply as needed for specific learners.
Extension Activities: whole class main idea Jeopardy game (Take a look at these other great main idea extension activity ideas!).
The Smart Way to Write this Lesson Plan using K.I.S.S:
You’re basically writing the gist of the main parts of the lesson.
Your finished lesson plan should look something like this…
The Final Product When Writing Your Lesson Plan Quickly
Here’s how your lesson plan book looks once you start filling it in using the K.I.S.S. lesson plan template,
Click the image below for a closer view.
When NOT to Use the K.I.S.S. Lesson Plan Template
While the K.I.S.S. lesson plan format guides you in how to write a lesson plan quickly and easily, it’s not always wise to use it.
When is it not a good idea to use the K.I.S.S. method?
- You’re mandated by your school or district to write a detailed lesson plan based on a pre-designed and pre-selected template.
- Your teaching experience is very limited.
- You don’t feel quit comfortable yet writing such a concise lesson plan; you need the support that a more detailed template provides.
Write a Lesson Plan Quickly with the K.I.S.S Lesson Plan
Write lesson plans faster by focusing on less – Keep It Super Simple.
Wishing you a smarter way to plan