Lesson Planning Shouldn't be Hard | Mindsteps Inc.

Lesson Planning Shouldn’t be Hard

7K0A0129Don’t you just hate it when you go to a workshop and learn a new technique, return home all excited to try it, only to find out that it won’t work with your curriculum, or your teaching style, or your district process?

Me too.

That’s why I work so hard to make sure that every resource we design and every workshop we create is flexible enough to adapt to any curriculum, any teaching style, and any subject.

So you can imagine my frustration when I encountered a curriculum recently that was challenging even for me to figure out.

I was leading a group of teachers through the rigor blueprint recently when we hit a snag. The new curriculum the teachers were given was not based on a set of standards. Instead, it was a collection of highly scripted activities with very little wiggle room for teachers to deviate from the prescribed outline.

Oh, boy.

At first, I was stumped. And, I worried that maybe I had finally met my match. Forget about making the curriculum work with the Rigor Blueprint; we couldn’t make sense of the curriculum on its own.

“See what I mean,” one teacher complained. “This makes no sense.”
“How are we supposed to teach this?” asked another. “School starts next week.”
The room erupted in grumbles as I sat at the front sweating and trying desperately to figure out the curriculum document.

I was drowning and it was only 9:45 a.m.

I put the document down for a second and took a deep breath. Think Robyn, I pushed myself. Think.

Then it hit me. We could use the Rigor Blueprint to figure out the new curriculum. “Ok,” I said as I called the group back to order. “Let’s go about this in a different way.” I pulled out the Rigor Blueprint and started from the beginning. “Even though we don’t have a clear set of standards here, I think we can still determine what thinking process is required by this module.”

Within a few minutes, we’d identified the thinking process. Next we moved to the thinking skills. From there, we organized the content, concepts, and processes and, literally in about 10 minutes, we had figured out module 1.

“That’s it?” one teacher asked incredulously. “We’re done?”
“Do you understand how to teach this module now?” I asked her.
“Well, yeah,” she stuttered. “But…”
“But what?” I asked.
She looked down at the curriculum document and shrugged. “I just thought it would be harder.”

I can’t make this stuff up.

Here’s the thing.

It shouldn’t be hard.

It shouldn’t be complicated.

This is why at our Rigor Blueprint workshops, we always ask teachers to bring in their own curriculum, their own required lesson planning formats, and their own resources. We want to show them how to apply or adapt the Blueprint to fit their needs and leave with something they can actually use. No complicated series of steps. No convoluted process.


If this sounds like something you’re interested in learning, then please join us for our Rigor Blueprint intensive September 29-30, 2014. You’ll get an entire day to work on your own curriculum, use your own materials, and with our help, figure out how to simplify your planning process, make sense of your standards and curriculum, and design lessons that you will love to teach.

Register now.

We want to know…
Have you ever encountered a new curriculum and didn’t know how to teach it? How did you figure it out? Share your experience below.