3 Strategies That Can Cut Down on Your Lesson Planning Time


When it comes to teaching, lesson planning can often be one of the most time-consuming aspects of the profession. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be. Check out our top three strategies for helping teachers reduce the amount of time they spend on their lesson plans.

Efficient Lesson Planning

Do you feel like you're spending way too much time on your lesson planning? Are you looking for ways to maximize your efficiency? You're probably not the only one. According to one survey, teachers collectively spend over 10 hours each week searching for and creating instructional materials for their students.

When you combine that time with the time already spent teaching (and doing everything else that teachers are responsible for), it's no wonder they often get burned out! The following strategies can help you cut down on your lesson planning time—and hopefully avoid that burnout.

busy teacher on a time crunch

Strategy #1: Review, Refresh, Reuse

While state standards and learning objectives may change slightly from year to year, chances are you can make use of lesson plans you've already created to save time. When you sit down to do some lesson planning, review last year's plans and decide a) what needs to be refreshed and b) what can stay the same. This will obviously depend on state and district standards as well as your own personal preferences.

During the review process, you might find that some lesson plans are completely reusable and fine as-is, while some may benefit from a fresh new perspective, activity or learning tool. Even though it might take some time to review and make your edits, it'll be much faster than starting your lesson planning from scratch.

teacher working on lesson planning

Strategy #2: Use Technology

By now, you're probably well aware that there are several benefits of using technology in the classroom, and this goes for both students and teachers. One very useful benefit for you is that it can streamline the lesson planning process. First, it allows you to ditch the pen or pencil and thick binders and go completely digital! Rather than writing down your lesson plans (too time-consuming!), you can create individual computerized documents that contain all of your school district's required lesson plan elements (e.g., objective, outline, standard, etc.). When it's time to create a lesson plan, all you have to do is fill in the elements, click 'save', and you're good to go. Talk about organization!

If you'd rather use an app to create your lesson plans, technology has also made it possible to do just that. Apps such as Planboard and Common Curriculum do most of the work for you and make it easy to organize, plan, make changes and access your lessons from anywhere!

There are also thousands of lesson planning resources available online. If you happen to be struggling with a certain lesson plan, a quick Google search can bring up templates, documents, and information that can be modified to fit your needs and standards.

teacher using technology in lesson planning

Strategy #3: Work With Other Teachers

It's long been said that there is strength in numbers, and you might find this to be especially true for lesson planning. If there is another teacher (or teachers) at your grade level, consider collaborating with them to save time.

For example, one of you can take subjects A and B (e.g., math and science), and the other can take subjects C and D (e.g., language arts and social studies). Create lesson plans for a certain amount of time, then switch up the subjects and repeat the process throughout the school year. Collaborating with other teachers not only cuts down on lesson planning time, it also helps to keep lessons fresh and exciting since more than one person is working on them.

teachers collaborating on lesson planning

Putting the Strategies to Work

Now it's time to put these useful, time-saving strategies to work! Hopefully, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the time you save on your lesson plans. By freeing up valuable time, you'll be able to focus on other areas of your teaching—and personal life for that matter!

Could your teaching use a little pick-me-up? Look no further than Study.com's Teacher Plan, which provides access to thousands of engaging video lessons that can enhance both teaching and learning in your classroom.

By Erin Riskey
November 2018
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