The necessity for lesson planning is clear. An effective teacher must be able to plan coherent lessons that are aligned with standards, fulfill daily objectives, include engaging activities that tap into students' curiosities, allow for assessment and differentiation, and make sure that they have enough time to do all of that. It is definitely an important skill for an effective teacher to master.

Fifth grade students use technology to complete a math activity involving area and perimeter.


  • Science: During my career, I have found that it is essential to include extension activities in my long and short term plans. The following activities were created for a 5th grade class, and were completed as part of a Discovery circus at the end of a unit on Weather. Activities from 2 of the 4 stations are shown below. Each station reviewed and extended knowledge that students gained during the unit by providing new information and experiences. At the "Mix & Match" station, students sorted information and pictures relating to 3 types of severe weather: thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Some of the information was new for the students, but they were able to figure it out based on what they already knew. At the "Cloud Drawing" station, students used chalk to draw pictures of the 4 basic cloud types, and gave information about them. Please click on the following links to view these activities.

  • Science: This lesson plan on eclipses was created for a 6th grade Science class. In this lesson, aligned with Virginia Standard of Learning 6.8e (the movement of planets and other object in Space), students explore how solar and lunar eclipses happen, why they are not seen every month, and what they look like. While Space is an engaging and interesting topic for students, this unit includes concepts that may be difficult for students to grasp. It is very difficult to make some of the concepts concrete for students, because students cannot actually see what it happening in Space. For example, it is difficult for students to understand why more people see lunar eclipses than solar eclipses without a visual representation. As I planned this lesson, I had to keep this in mind. This is where I found technology to be especially useful. I incorporated many video clips of solar and lunar eclipses, so that students could visualize these events. The video clips also piqued the interests of the students. Please click on the following link to view this document. eclipses lesson plan.pdf

  • Math: Below is a link for an outline of a mini-unit on time. When planning this unit, I started by mapping out how many days I wanted to spend on the unit, and my objectives for each day. After doing this, I was able to brainstorm activities for each day to match my objectives. During this process, I began to rearrange the order of the unit as I saw fit. This was the final outline that I created. In the end, I had to add a day to the unit, because my students had difficulty understanding the concept of elapsed time. Although the unit did not go exactly the way I expected, it was important that I at least had an idea of how I wanted to teach the unit.

    Very early in my student teaching experience, I learned that it is always better to prepare more than you will need. In my outline, I planned to spend two days on the calendar. As it turned out, I finished that lesson plan within a day. If I had not engaged in long range planning, I would have lost valuable instructional time. As it turns out, I needed that time to help students grasp the concept of elapsed time. Time_mini unit_outline.pdf

  • Social Studies: I was able to work on a collaborative Culture Kit on the Middle East with two of my classmates. In our Culture Kit, we included 4 lesson plans for the primary and intermediate elementary grades. We also included a historical narrative, and activities that can be done with 4 Middle Eastern artifacts. When planning this Culture kit, we started out by exploring the local, state, and national Social Studies standards that were related to our topic and grade level. We then thought about what methods would be best to help students absorb the necessary content, and we were able to develop specific behavioral objectives for each lesson. By doing this, we were able to successfully develop 2 primary level lesson plans on map skills and art criticism, an intermediate lesson plan on civic engagement, and a middle school level inquiry lesson on the status of women in the United States and the Middle East. We also created activities at the primary and intermediate levels to enhance our students’ knowledge and appreciation of Middle Eastern culture. These activities were based on Egyptian music, primary source documents, and an interview, and were developed to engage and motivate students to learn more about the Middle East. Please click on the following link to view this document (this is a large file - please be patient when loading) : The Globally Ignored Middle East.pdf

  • Language Arts: The following artifact is an outline for a mini-unit on the thesaurus. When outlining this unit, I began by unpacking the standards associated with the thesaurus. From there, I was able to develop daily objectives, activities, and assessment for each day. Outlines for units are tentative. However, these outlines allow me to brainstorm my activities for each day, and determine my initial teaching pace for the unit. Creating these outlines have helped me to engage in both long-range planning and daily lesson planning. Thesaurus unit outline.pdf