Best Lesson Plan Writing Practices

classroom-1300761_960_720The beginning of the new year brings hope. Teachers and students come back from the holiday break refreshed and ready to learn. The idea is to keep the enthusiasm going at least until the stress of assessment(s) kicks in, but how?

If your school uses curriculum made by Pearson, Nelson or likes, you will have to do a lot of extra lesson planning and individualized practice. Most schools buy curriculum from the educational conglomerates who offer reference style curriculum, which is riddled with “cleverness” that causes resentment in the classroom and arguments at home.

The following are some of the most effective lesson planning practices that will increase your students’ knowledge retention and increase class engagement.

Multi-sensory approach – Involve senses into your lessons; auditory, visual, kinesthetic, tactile, etc. The multi-sensory approach allows for parallel processing of the information and strengthens memory. Students who process both auditory and visual learning are more likely retain and later retrieve learning.

Make the lesson meaningful. From the beginning to the end, make sure that your students have sufficient background knowledge, that their misconceptions are discussed, and that new questions are answered.

Make your assessment engaging. Allow your students to make a choice among assessment(s); a narrative, a quiz, a project, a mind map, application of new learning to prior learning, etc.

Chunk learning, especially if the learning content is new to students. For instance, middle school science is full of new vocabulary. Make sure that your students know the terminology prior to the lesson. Review the new vocabulary throughout the lesson, apply it, have students use the new terms in their examples. Don’t overwhelm with new and difficult material. Chucking allows for higher comprehension. On average, short term memory holds about 4 bits of information.
Always come back to the question(s) you want your students to master. Use informal assessment to scaffold learning.

While engaging and strong lesson plans are a foundation of your classroom, the use of interactive notebooks should not be overlooked. The interactive notebooks should be clear notebooks, free from distracting designs, especially for older students.

The interactive notebooks are used for students to write their notes, Knew -Learned – Want to Know charts, mind maps, diagrams, new vocabulary and their use, additional (students – teacher) questions/thoughts and comments.
The interactive notebooks are valuable resources for both teachers and students. They are a record of engagement, comprehension, effort, and the reference for knowledge review.

Happy Teaching,
Lena, M. Ed.


Elementary Science Units & Best Teacher Gift

Mixtures and Solutions - STEM Unit

Mixtures and Solutions – STEM Unit

Mighty Forces Unit - STEMElementary science is often overlooked by the textbook companies and schools. The former writes shallow, boring curriculum, and the latter doesn’t provide teachers with adequate resources or funds to conduct experiments in the classroom. Hopefully your child has a wonderfully generous teacher who spends her own money for classroom activities, goes to a private school, is in a well funded district, or is homeschooled. For all wonderful room moms and involved parents, Teachers Pay Teachers had started ClassFund, which allows parents to contribute funds to the classroom so that teachers can purchase additional resources for the class. TpT Class Fund should be the Teacher Gift of the Year. To sign your child’s teacher up for TpT Class Fund click here.

TpT Class Funds

TpT Class Funds – Perfect Teacher Gift

“Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman – Lesson Plan

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman Lesson Plan

Amazing Grace Lesson Plan

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman is a must read story of determination, encouragement, and perseverance. Kids and people of all ages can relate to being told that they can’t do something simply because of their gender, skin color, age, etc. Grace gracefully deals with stereotypes and serves as a role model to boys and girls everywhere  by being the best choice. Mary Hoffman’s Grace series is a sure re-read year after year.

Happy Reading! 

Mrs. Lena, M.Ed. 



Amazing Grace by Marry Hoffman Lesson Plan

Amazing Grace by Marry Hoffman Lesson Plan

The lesson plan pack includes: pre, during, and post reading comprehension questions, character analysis, story sequencing, story elements, cause and effect chart, & new vocabulary word search.

Washed Ashore – Art to Save the Sea

Washed Ashore - Ocean Pollution

Washed Ashore – Ocean Pollution

While travelling, we visited a zoo with these beautiful animal sculptures made out of plastic that immediately caught my eye. It was sad thinking how much plastic ends up in our ocean, and the sculptures surely make people pause to acknowledge the beauty and the problem that our world faces. I was sure that we didn’t even get to see all of them since the zoo was massive and we had just few ours to roam. A couple of days ago, I came across the article that had the pictures of these beautiful plastic sculptures from the zoo visit. They belong to a project called Washed Ashore – turning plastic ocean pollution into sea-saving art. It comes with an important lesson that the nature’s biggest predator is plastic/ trash. It’s a travelling exhibit that is worth visiting a zoo with your kids for. For the Washed Ashore exhibit locations click here.

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit  - Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Washed Ashore Project Exhibit – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The Parker Inheritance – Novel Guide

The Parker Inheritance Novel Guide

The Parker Inheritance Novel Guide

“The Parker Inheritance” by Varian Johnson is 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book.  An amazing new upper elementary and middle school novel. Varian Johnson does a great job telling a story of inheritance of our history, beliefs, situations, possessions or the lack of. Without giving away the story, kids are going to learn an abundance about our nation’s history along the themes of family, acceptance, coming of age, racism/discrimination, perseverance, friendship, etc.


“The letter, with its small, black single-spaced words and sharp edges, spoke of a great injustice. It was written by a man who didn’t exist. And it promised an incredible fortune….”

This novel pack includes:

  • chapter by chapter reading comprehension questions
  • character(s) analysis
  • main idea
  • themes
  • vocabulary words
  • essay questions
  • resources
  • answers included

Happy teaching! 

Mrs. Lena, M.Ed. 





Journaling for Kids

2019 Journal for Kids; journaling for kids

2019 Journal for Kids

Journaling for kids is an ideal outlet for self-expression. In my class, students journal throughout the year. Their journals are creative masterpieces. It’s a perfect writing exercise. The journal entries are not diaries. They are gently guided reflections on certain topics. At the end of the year, I custom make a class memory book / journal. The journals are then completed by students. Writing is not a favorite pastime for most elementary school kids, but when it comes to journals it is different. Students take pride in making the journals their own. I love seeing them record their school memories, jokes, stuff they liked and didn’t care for… There is no rules for journaling, except making them their own. “2019 Kids Memory Journal” is a year long journal for kids to reflect on their year, likes, dislikes, things they like(d), places they went and wanted to go to, sports they played, teams they were on, friends they made, and the list goes on. Perfect for kids ages 7-10. A keepsake and the funnest writing activity.

Memory Journal - 2019 Journaling for Kids

Memory Journal – 2019 Journaling for Kids