Plan Fall Lessons Now with Tips from the Jewish Educator's Companion

Before you head off to summer vacation, do some planning now to make the Fall transition smoother. 

Using a lesson plan template can be a time- and class saver. The best part of making great lesson plans in that you have them for future use. You can also share your plan with others, whether a new teacher in your schol or colleagues from other schools. Helping other teachers raises the bar for Jewish education everywhere.

"[I] still remember the incredible challenges of that first year of teaching ... stressed out and unprepared ... flying by the seat of my pants, barely able to keep up," writes Batsheva Frankel in The Jewish Educator's Companion: Practical Tools and Inspirational Ideas. "My department head always wanted lesson plans at the end of the week. I didn't really know what lesson plans were, so I would jot down a few sentences about what I thought I was going to do in class each day. Later, when I realized how helpful lesson plans could be, it changed my teaching completely."

Here is a template Frankel developed, which can complement any teaching methodology or technique. 

Lesson: Name of lesson, unit, or topic.

Overview: A look at what the lesson will introduce - the big picture of the lesson or unit. This is really helpful for substitutes or others who want to know what you are covering in this lesson.

Materials: What materials will you need? This includes texts, handouts, art supplies, or anything else you need for a project or activity. As you write out your plan, you may need to add to this section, or you can highlight materials as they appear in the plan and fill in later.

Preparation: What do you need to do ahead of time?

Enduring Understanding(s): Frankel recommends always including these big-picture ideas. EUs are not facts; they are the accumulated wisdom that comes from examining, experiencing, andr recognizing some important new idea.

Essential Question: Great open-ended questions tied into the EUs that can be used at the beginning of unit, or throughout, to add depth to your lessons.

Skills and Knowledge: What skills and knowledge will you be focusing on for this lesson or unit?

Goals: These are the big-picture objectives that prompt inquiry, thought, and exploration of the topic. They are phrased with active verbs, expressing what we want our students to engage in and acccomplish, and are usually related to our Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions.

Introduction/Set Induction: For every lesson, it is very helpful to prepare students for what they're about to learn - pique their interest and hook them into your lesson. Another way to use the set induction is to review previous class material and connect it to the current lesson.

Activities: This is the main part of your lesson - how are you going to teach it? The more variety you can create within a block of time, the better. Find different modalities of conveying information or guiding students to discover and uncover information to help them connect with the material. In this way, all will be motivated to participate and grow.

Summary/Assessments: Summarize the lesson and check for understanding. This will include evidence of learning, whether you're using formative or summative assessments. Don't forget to get creative.

Reflection: After the lesson is over, write reflective notes. What were the strengths and challenges of the lesson? How can you refine it for future use?

Although it is often time-consuming to write down everything that we plan to do for a lesson - and then rework the lesson and make notes afterward - when we do take that planning time, conduct a self-assessment, and allow our lessons to evolve, we hep ourselves grow as teachers and our students to flourish.

Click here for a Lesson Planner template from The Jewish Educator's Companion, a valuable resource that makes a great welcome-to-school gift for teachers to plan and generate ideas for the new school year. Order ten or more and receive 25% off*.

*This discount does not apply to the other items in your order. Standard shipping rates still apply.


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