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Lesson Planning Hacks

You will be familiar with in-depth lesson planning from your training year, but in reality, once you're in a school you don't want to be spending hours and hours writing out detailed lesson plans. In general, Ofsted do not require formal written lesson plans but should always refer to your own school's teaching and learning policy as to what they require. Some schools have pre-defined templates that they expect you to use for all lessons, others accept your PowerPoint as your lesson plan.

In terms of "efficient" planning, the four key questions in the image about pretty much sum up what should drive your initial lesson planning process.

Before you start planning your lesson, you should try to establish as much as you can about the class you will be teaching. Whilst they take a little bit of time, I would advise that you write a context sheet (see so that you can demonstrate you're critically thinking about the learners in front of you and how the demographic of your class might impact upon the learning that takes place. For example, a boy heavy group may need more "Boy Friendly" teaching such as active learning, short-sharp timed activities, competition etc. Also, looking at the spread of target grades in your class can help with the pitch and level of the lesson.

Think about the 3Is (intent, implementation, impact) throughout all of your lesson planning to keep you focused on what you want your students to learn. Remember: outstanding teaching can't happen without outstanding learning.


The first part of any lesson planning is identifying what it is you want your students to know, understand, or be able to do by the end of the lesson. This will formulate your learning objective. ALWAYS refer to "learning" objectives rather than "lesson" so that you are showing you are focusing on the students and what new knowledge they will have obtained by the end of your interaction with them. Within your intent, think about how this links to their prior and future knowledge. Consider how you will reinforce prior learning and build the foundations for their future learning.


The next stage is thinking about how you will structure your lesson to ensure that you can accomplish your intent. What learning activities would support it? What key terms will you explain to enable students to achieve the learning objective? What are the common misconceptions that occur with the topic? Write a list of the things that students often get confused with so that you are prepared to address them


What will be the outcomes for the different groups of learners as a result of your implementation? What questions would you expect your different groups to be able to answer by the end of the lesson You should think about:

  • HPA (High Prior Attainers)

  • MPA (Middles Prior Attainers)

  • LPA (Low Prior Attainers)

  • SEND (those with EHCPs or educational support plans)

  • PP (Pupil Premium)

Planning your lesson

If your school does not have its own specific lesson planning template, a good place to start with lesson planning is to use the #5minplan from @teachertoolkit (

There are also some great free templates out there and teachwire have summarised some of them on their website:

Also, have a read of a previous post on lesson planning here to give you some further ideas.

The internet is an amazing place to find resources. I do not believe in reinventing the wheel and quite ofter a quick search of the TES will give you a vast array of resources, quite often for free. This can, quite often, save hours of time with an "off-the-shelf" lesson that can be easily adapted to your students

Finally, never underestimate the value of "experienced colleagues"! Bounce an idea off another teacher... it doesn't necessarily have to be a member of your department. Schools are a veritable treasure trove of knowledge and experience for you to dip into - use them!

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christopher hale
christopher hale
23 may 2023

Lesson planning can be a time-consuming task for educators, but there are several hacks and strategies that can help streamline the process and make it more efficient. Here are some lesson planning hacks:

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