Planning: Everything a Teacher Needs to Know



The lesson cycle is a framework used by teachers to design, deliver and evaluate lessons. It is a process that helps to ensure that the lesson is effective and meets the learning objectives. The lesson cycle consists of four stages: planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting. In this blog post, we will discuss each stage of the lesson cycle in detail.

Stage 1: Planning

  • Planning is the first stage of the lesson cycle. It involves deciding on the learning objectives, designing the activities, and choosing the resources needed for the lesson. During this stage, the teacher should consider the learners’ needs and interests to create a lesson that is relevant and engaging. The teacher should also consider the level of the learners and adjust the lesson accordingly.
  • The planning stage should also include setting clear and measurable learning objectives. Learning objectives provide direction for the lesson and help the teacher to assess whether the learners have achieved the desired outcomes. The teacher should ensure that the learning objectives are achievable within the time frame of the lesson.
There are many planning procedures that teachers can use to effectively plan their lessons and activities. Here are a few examples:
  • Backward design: This approach involves starting with the desired outcomes or learning objectives and working backwards to develop activities and assessments that will help students achieve those objectives. This method ensures that the lessons and activities are focused on the desired outcomes.
  • Curriculum mapping: This involves creating a map or chart of the curriculum, including the topics to be covered, the order in which they will be covered, and the resources needed. This method helps teachers to see the big picture of what needs to be taught and when.
  • Lesson planning: This involves creating a detailed plan for each individual lesson, including the objectives, activities, materials, and assessments. This method ensures that the teacher has a clear plan for each lesson and can keep track of progress.
  • Differentiated instruction: This involves planning for different levels and types of learners within the same classroom, so that each student can be challenged and supported in their learning. This method involves planning for different activities, materials, and assessments that will meet the needs of all learners.
  • Collaborative planning: This involves working with other teachers or professionals to plan lessons and activities together. This method allows for different perspectives and ideas, and can lead to more effective and engaging lessons.
  • Review your curriculum and credential expectations to ensure you are teaching the appropriate content and then spice it up with engaging activities to learn that content
  • Plan for a variety of activity over the allotted time with students
  • Make sure you include a bell ringer, background lessons, engaging demonstrations/labs, partner/group work, assessment of daily learning, center activities, and possible projects
  • Change activities frequently to avoid boredom and passive learning

Stage 2: Teaching

  • The teaching stage is where the teacher delivers the lesson to the learners. During this stage, the teacher should ensure that the learners are actively engaged in the lesson. The teacher should use a variety of teaching strategies, such as lectures, discussions, and group work, to ensure that all learners are catered for. The teacher should also monitor the progress of the learners to ensure that they are meeting the learning objectives.
  • During the teaching stage, the teacher should also provide feedback to the learners. Feedback can be in the form of praise or constructive criticism. Feedback helps the learners to improve their understanding of the subject and to identify areas that need improvement.

There are many teaching strategies that teachers can use to engage their students and facilitate learning. Here are a few examples:
  • Lecture: This is a traditional method of teaching where the teacher delivers information to the students through verbal communication. Lectures can be enhanced with visual aids, handouts, and other materials to help students better understand the information being presented.
  • Discussion: This involves facilitating a conversation between students about a specific topic. This strategy encourages students to share their ideas, ask questions, and listen to others. Discussions can be conducted in small groups or as a whole class.
  • Cooperative learning: This involves dividing students into small groups to work together on a project or activity. This strategy promotes teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
  • Inquiry-based learning: This involves posing questions and problems to students and encouraging them to explore and discover the answers on their own. This strategy promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and curiosity.
  • Project-based learning: This involves assigning a project to students that requires them to apply what they have learned in a creative and meaningful way. This strategy promotes collaboration, creativity, and real-world application of knowledge.
  • Technology-based learning: This involves using technology tools such as computers, tablets, and multimedia resources to enhance student learning. This strategy can help students develop technology skills and engage with the material in new and exciting ways.
  • Differentiated instruction: This involves tailoring teaching methods and materials to meet the individual needs of each student. This strategy recognizes that students have different learning styles, abilities, and interests, and seeks to provide personalized instruction to each student.


  • Monitor student learning throughout the entire lesson by walking around the room
  • Ask prompting questions, make sure you are following your plan that includes a variety of activities.


Stage 3: Assessing
  • Assessing is the stage where the teacher evaluates the learners’ progress towards achieving the learning objectives. The assessment can be formal or informal. Formal assessments include tests and exams, while informal assessments include observations and discussions.
  • Assessment provides feedback to the teacher and the learners. It helps the teacher to identify areas where the learners need further support and to adjust the lesson accordingly. It also provides the learners with feedback on their progress and helps them to identify areas where they need to improve.

Assessing students formally and informally is an important part of teaching that helps teachers evaluate student learning and adjust their instruction accordingly. Here are some examples of formal and informal assessments:

Formal Assessments:
  • Standardized tests: These are tests that are designed to measure student knowledge and skills in a standardized manner. Examples include state or national standardized tests, college entrance exams, and AP exams.
  • Summative assessments: These are assessments that are given at the end of a unit, semester, or year to measure student achievement. Examples include final exams, unit tests, and end-of-year projects.
  • Performance assessments: These are assessments that require students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a real-world context. Examples include science experiments, research papers, and oral presentations.
  • Portfolios: These are collections of student work that demonstrate their progress over time. Portfolios can include written work, art projects, and other assignments.

Informal Assessments:
  • Formative assessments: These are assessments that are used throughout the learning process to monitor student progress and adjust instruction. Examples include quizzes, exit tickets, and class discussions.
  • Observations: These are informal assessments where teachers observe student behavior and participation in class. Observations can be used to identify areas where students are struggling and provide targeted support.
  • Questioning: This is a technique where teachers ask students questions to assess their understanding of the material. Teachers can use questioning to clarify misunderstandings and prompt deeper thinking.
  • Self-assessment: This is a process where students reflect on their own learning and progress. Self-assessment can help students take ownership of their learning and identify areas where they need to improve.

Both formal and informal assessments have their own advantages and disadvantages. Formal assessments are often more reliable and objective, but can be stressful for students and may not provide a complete picture of student learning. Informal assessments are more flexible and can be used to adjust instruction in real-time, but may not be as reliable as formal assessments. Teachers should use a combination of both formal and informal assessments to gain a comprehensive understanding of student learning and adjust their instruction accordingly.

  • Test/exams at the end of the unit
  • Ticket out at the end of a lesson or activity within a lesson
  • Have a student do a demonstration to show mastery of lesson
  • Questioning and providing wait time
  • Allowing student to self discover and assess their knowledge/foundation of content


Stage 4: Reflecting
  • Reflecting is the final stage of the lesson cycle. It involves the teacher reflecting on the lesson and evaluating its effectiveness. The teacher should consider whether the learning objectives were met, whether the learners were engaged and whether the teaching strategies were effective.
  • Reflection provides an opportunity for the teacher to identify areas for improvement and to make adjustments for future lessons. It also provides an opportunity for the teacher to celebrate successes and to identify what worked well.
  • Reflecting on teaching and student progress is an important process that allows teachers to evaluate their teaching methods and the effectiveness of their instruction. Here are some steps that teachers can take to reflect on their teaching and student progress:
  • Collect data: Collect data on student progress, such as test scores, homework assignments, and class participation. This data can provide a snapshot of how well students are understanding the material and can help identify areas where students are struggling.
  • Analyze the data: Analyze the data collected to identify patterns, strengths, and weaknesses in student performance. This analysis can help teachers identify areas where they need to modify their instruction or provide additional support.
  • Reflect on teaching methods: Reflect on teaching methods and strategies that were effective in helping students achieve their learning goals. Teachers can consider what worked well and what did not work well and make adjustments as needed.
  • Seek feedback: Seek feedback from students, parents, and colleagues to gain different perspectives on teaching and student progress. This feedback can provide insights into areas where teachers may need to improve their instruction or provide additional support.
  • Set goals: Set goals for improving teaching methods and supporting student progress. Teachers can set short-term and long-term goals to help guide their teaching practices and ensure that they are making progress towards improving student achievement.
  • Implement changes: Implement changes to teaching methods and strategies based on the data, feedback, and goals. Teachers can try new approaches and evaluate their effectiveness to determine if they are making progress towards improving student achievement.

By regularly reflecting on teaching and student progress, teachers can continually improve their teaching practices and support student success.

  • At the end of each day, make notes on your agenda/lesson plan about things that worked or didn’t work so the lesson can be modified
  • Look at assessment data and determine which student need additional practice or content review
  • The lesson cycle is a valuable framework that can be used by teachers to design, deliver and evaluate effective lessons. By following the four stages of the lesson cycle, teachers can ensure that their lessons are relevant, engaging, and meet the needs of their learners. The lesson cycle provides teachers with a structured approach to teaching, which can help to improve the quality of education provided to learners.

FREE Planning Guides for the following Subjects
  • World Geography
  • American History
  • World History
  • Civics, Government
  • Physical Science
  • Life Science
  • Earth Science

Thank you for your support! --Learned Lessons

Leaned Lessons Teaching Material

No comments

Back to Top