Unexpected Resources for Lesson Plan Inspiration

It's that time of the week.  Time for you to sit down and write lesson plans.

You get out your teacher guides, pull up the standards, grab your students' IEPs, and if you're anything like me, you spend the next hour searching through Pinterest...and most likely getting side tracked about 70% of that planning time (whoops).

Sound familiar?

That's all good.  Heck, it's working, right?  Err, maybe...but what have you done to search beyond the usual spots?

Have you thought about how your lessons are connecting to the real world?  Evidence proves that lessons set in real-world context provide a stronger framework for children to retain and understand information.

It's easy for all of us to fall into a pattern, especially if it is working!  (Pinterest, I love you).  However, I urge you to start thinking outside the box.

I've come up with a list to get your creative juices flowing.  Check out my list of unexpected places you can find inspiration to help you plan your next week's lessons.

Magazines: Are there any new, trendy topic ideas you can use to connect with social studies this week?  If you're teaching older grades, compare and contrast the way different articles are being written.  Discuss the author's point of view.  What are some hot topics or seasonal articles?  Teaching younger grades?  Have students search for sight words or find pictures to help practice beginning sounds or letter blends.

Newspapers:  Use newspapers as a basis for classroom debates.  Review and discuss current events.  Practice citing textual evidence.  Gain experience with news reporting.

Grocery Stores:  Explore organization and categorizing.  Teaching Math?  The grocery store may suddenly become your best friend.  Create a mock grocery store to teach estimating, percents, unit rates, calculating change, and quick fluency facts.

Town Board Meetings:  Video tape board meetings or explain to the students what they are and what purpose they serve.  Children will learn about citizenship, current events, developing an opinion and voice.  Hold your own "class board meeting" to practice public speaking.

Doctor's Offices:  Life skills 101.  Students can gain a sense of independence and responsibility when learning how to fill out their own forms.  Real life skills, people.

Now it's your turn!  I challenge you to go out into your community and start looking for lesson inspiration.  Once you start, the ideas will begin pouring in.

Don't forget to have a quick way to jot down notes so you don't forget!  Bring a small notebook or type a reminder to yourself on your cell phone.

Are you already using real-world context in your classroom?  I want to hear about your ideas!  Why dontcha leave your comments below?

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