3 ways lesson planning is like following a recipe

Do your students eat up your lessons?

Recently, when a friend shared a recipe on Facebook for a pumpkin cheesecake (yum!), it reminded me of the time I tried to make my own cheesecake. I purchased all the ingredients and some new equipment, including that special pan that snaps around the cake. Unfortunately, I missed a step. I did not soften the cream cheese properly. All these years later, I’m recalling myself with four different spoons in the bowl, trying to maneuver my creation and figuring it to be an utter failure. Because I did not want to waste my ingredients, let alone my fancy new bakeware, I pressed on. In the end, the cheesecake was delicious, but the preparation was a bit of a horror story.

Not too long after my attempt to make the cheesecake, I became a teacher (trust me, I’m going somewhere with this). And recently, it occurred to me that lesson planning is like following a recipe.

Like following a recipe, lesson planning …

1. provides order and organization.
Whether you’ve used a recipe before or not, you expect a recipe to contain the following information: necessary supplies and ingredients, a step-by-step set of steps to prepare the ingredients, and a timeline for doing so. By the end, if all goes properly, you’ve created something tasty.

Likewise, whether you’ve used a lesson plan before or not, you can expect it to inform the reader what you plan to teach, how you plan to teach it, methods by which you’ll determine whether your students have learned what you’ve taught, and perhaps steps to prepare for further learning. While each administrator (or school district) might require variations on these steps, there is still a logical order required for someone else to be able to understand what you plan to do during those 42 minutes with your students.

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