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5 Teaching Strategies to Transform Your Lesson Plans

Janelle Cox

Whether you have been teaching for decades or have only been teaching for a few years, planning out your lessons ahead of time is one of the most effective and efficient things that you can do. Mapping out your teaching strategies ahead of time allows you to be flexible and make any necessary changes that may be needed. Here are five more teaching strategies that you can use to transform your lesson plans.

1. Use Teaching Strategies that Go Beyond the Textbook

While it’s important and quite essential to understand the standards and curriculum, it doesn’t mean that you have to stick to using the standard textbook when creating your lesson plans. Try going beyond the textbook to teach concepts through alternative methods that are engaging, like presentations, using technology, or group work activities. All of these things will help boost students’ learning while still following the curriculum. Here are a few more resources to consider using as an alternative or even an extension of the textbook.

  • Pictures, illustrations, posters.
  • Newspapers, the Internet, brochures.
  • Songs, comics, library books, television.

2. Use the Goldilocks Approach for Planning Objectives

Many teachers chose to use the Goldilocks rule when planning their objectives for their lesson plans. This rule means that the objective should not be too broad or too specific, but it should be just right. For example, the objective, “Identify the details in the story” would be too general of a statement, while the objective, “Identify the characters in the book “Charlotte’s Web”” would be too specific. An appropriate statement would be “Identify characters in a story.” The goal is to create a simple objective that uses student-friendly language while defining a skill.

3. Use Visual Learning Strategies

When looking to transform your lessons, you will want to make sure that you use a few visual learning strategies to help engage your students. Research shows that visual aids help arise students’ interest, while helping teachers explain a concept more easily. Here are a few common visual learning aids that make a lesson easier for students to understand.

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  • Pictures, charts, maps, videos.
  • Objects, flashcards, bulletin boards, models.
  • Graphic organizers, whiteboards, chalkboards, tablets.

4. Give Students a Choice

Effective teachers have found that student choice is a great motivator. So when planning your lessons, give students a few options. You can integrate student choice in a variety of ways: Give them a choice board where they choose a few tasks to complete out of a set of tasks, give students an assignment then give them the choice when to complete it during the week, or allow them to choose who they work with to complete a task. Implementing any of these ideas can influence students’ motivation and help them to succeed in class.

5. Plan Your Assessment First

When planning your lessons, try creating your assessment first, this way you can figure out what you want students to know at the end of the lesson. Then you can create the lesson based on that information. When you take this approach, you are not teaching to the test like many teachers feel they have to do. Instead, you are creating a test based on your standards and curriculum, then creating an effective lesson plan based off of that. Planning your assessment helps you make sure that students are hitting their checkpoints and grasping each skill or concept that you are teaching them.

If your goal is to create transformational lessons, then they should focus on enriching the lives of your students. You can do this by carefully crafting your objectives so they are not too broad or too specific, but just right. In addition to that, they should be engaging and go beyond the textbook, incorporate visuals, and give students the opportunity of choice. When you do this, along with planning your assessment first, then you have ultimately transformed your lessons so that your students will be engaged and motivated to learn.

How do you transform your lessons? Do you have any specific teaching strategies that you like to do? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.