Suggestions for days when you just can’t

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I love lesson planning. I love the excitement of finding that perfect authentic resource that is comprehensible, engaging and presents the cultural content that I want to share with my students. Once I have found the ideal text, I take pleasure in creating the learning activities that will guide my students in interpreting that text, provide a context for relevant interpersonal communication, and prompt them to express their ideas in the presentational mode.

As stimulating as creating these tasks might be, they do take considerable time and intellectual energy. As teachers, these two things are often at a premium and there are days when we just can’t. We don’t have enough hours in the day and our energy is depleted after the myriad demands of our work and personal lives.  For these times, it’s nice to have some go-to lesson ideas that don’t require anything more than the resource we have selected as the basis for our lesson. Click here for the templates I have created and keep reading for some suggestions that will help you create your own.

3 Steps for creating a lesson plan for any resource

  1. Select an interpretive task.  Before our students can use the vocabulary, structures and content in a text, they must, of course, read or listen to it (and probably more than once).  As I explained in this recent post (and this follow up post), I think graphic organizers are the way to go when we don’t have the time and energy we need to create questions that are specific to the selected text. 
  2. Describe the type of interpersonal communication the students will have based on the content of the authentic resource. While I love the Novice speaking activities I shared in this post, creating these tasks requires a significant time commitment on the teacher’s part. When our schedules don’t allow for this, I like to put the students in charge of scaffolding the conversation.  For Novice students, this might mean that they write questions (using sentence starters) and then interview a partner. Asking them to compare their responses in a Venn diagram can provide additional opportunities for producing language to this task. Intermediate students might also be assigned a discussion based on their responses in the graphic organizer, but in a more spontaneous, open-ended context.
  3. Design a presentational task based on the contents of the authentic resource and results of the interpersonal task. Novice students might make a list or write short sentences based on a context related to the text. Intermediate students might write a blog post or journal entry from their own perspective or one suggested by the content of the authentic resource.

I’d love to hear your go-to lesson ideas for days that you “just can’t.”  Please share by clicking on “Leave a reply” at the top of this page. To join my newsletter and receive a set of free plug and play lesson plan templates, click on the link below.

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