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Lesson Plan Templates: Creative Solutions

Streamline your teaching process and bring creativity into your classroom with customized lesson plan templates.
Dustin Hodgson
Published Dec 28, 2020

Lesson planning can be compared to the steps taken to prepare for a cross-country road trip. Your departure point represents where your students are at on day one of your course and the destination is a stand-in for the level your learners will be at when the course is finished. Your road trip s route will include major cities and landmarks in addition to small towns and amber waves of grain.

Car on Map of North America

Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

Similarly, an effective lesson plan template identifies the objective(s) for the course and breaks the journey to that goal down into easy-to-digest lessons and key topics so that the objective(s) can be met in the time allotted. By breaking your course (or road trip) down into small pieces and mapping out the important stops along the way, you can be assured that sticking to the plan will help you reach your goal at the right time.

In this article, we discuss the basics of lesson planning, the benefits of customizing and utilizing your own lesson plan template, and ways you can personalize each plan to make your teaching experience better!

Lesson Plan Template Basics

ABC Blocks

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

As an educator, these lesson plan basics are likely review, but we think it s important to start with a firm foundation (for a more in-depth discussion, we recommend this article). To ensure that your learners reach the goals you have for them, it is necessary to view your course s lesson plan from multiple perspectives. For example, begin by using your syllabus as a master lesson plan template, then create a new plan for each topic along your timeline, all the way down to the level you re most comfortable with (month, week, or day). Sections you may want to utilize include:

  • Materials Needed
    While you could read through the description of each lesson to identify the things you ll need to have on hand, listing them out in their own designated space (and repeating it on every successive plan) makes it easy to gather what you need for each lesson.
  • Timeframe
    Identify how much time your overall plan has allotted for this individual lesson.
  • Lesson Goals (Standards Based Outcomes)
    Keeping the goal for each lesson at the forefront will help you stay on target throughout. The cumulative goals for all lessons will lead to your final destination.
  • Prerequisites (Required Prior Knowledge)
    This reminder of what your learners should already know before tackling the lesson allows you to move from one lesson to the next with confidence.
Journey Map Image

Image by Bluehouse Skis from Pixabay

  • Steps/Procedures
    Depending on your own unique teaching style, this section might be fully scripted and detailed, or it may contain only highlights and key statements that help you stay on track. Designing a lesson plan template that works for you allows you to build your style into each and every lesson.
  • Discussion/Review
    Decide how you will instill the topics you are teaching into your students. Build out thoughtful questions for discussion and opportunities to review all the information taught.
  • Assessment
    Indicate how you plan to assess your learners retention of the subject matter. Testing is just one option for assessment. You may also think of ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your lesson plan (are they achieving the goals you identified ahead of time, or should you recalibrate your future plans?).
  • Enrichment/Activities
    Identify opportunities to bring each lesson to life and drive home the topic being discussed. These may include group projects, field trips, and other hands-on activities.

Now that you've chosen your essential lesson plan template elements, it's time to think about how you might make your finished template unique to you.

Why Use a Custom Lesson Plan Template?

Teacher Desk

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Customizing your own unique lesson plan template will shorten the lesson planning process every time you use it. When you create a lesson plan template based around your own unique thought process and teaching style, each successive lesson plan gets easier and easier to replicate. Also, you gain confidence in your ability to teach your students all the things they need to know because YOU built them into the lesson plan.

Creative Lesson Plan Template Enhancements

As you customize your own lesson plan template, it s essential to remember that your lesson plan should be something YOU enjoy looking at. To help you creatively engage your students (and stay engaged yourself), here are a few ideas that you can use to enhance your lesson plan template. Think of it as marketing to yourself!

Check It Off!

Checklist and Hand

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Creating a checklist of the different pieces of your lesson plan lets you cross things off the to-do list, giving you an extra bit of satisfaction throughout the day.

Add Graphics to Brighten Your Day

Keep Calm and Teach On Image

Image via University of Delaware

Graphics and illustrations serve as an excellent way to break up large bodies of text. They can bring seemingly mundane subjects to life and perhaps add a little comic relief. You can even incorporate an inspirational quote or a meme that makes you smile.

Use Color Intentionally


Image by Miguel . Padri n from Pixabay

Even the most complex lesson plan can be brought to life with a touch of color. Color can keep you organized, reduce stress, and lift your spirits. Incorporate your favorite hues into your lesson plan template to make it a little easier to choose joy every day.

Benefits of Downloadable Lesson Plan Templates

Woman Working on Computer

Image by janeb13 from Pixabay

Thankfully, teachers have access to a variety of tools on the internet to proactively make lesson plans. By building a lesson plan template from scratch or finding a pre-existing template you can tailor to your own style, you will free up your time to focus on your most important job teaching. 

In our current climate, this teaching approach is more necessary than ever. You may be overwhelmed with virtual learning, struggling to keep your students engaged day after day on Zoom. Having a digital lesson plan on hand allows you the flexibility to:

  • Quickly adjust your teaching strategy
  • Accommodate the need to switch to online classes at short notice
  • Deliver information to substitute teachers in the event you need to take sick leave

With a downloadable lesson plan template, you ll ensure that your class stays on track, regardless of whether you need to adapt to our ever-changing environment.


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