Lesson planning

30 May 2024

How to create your own lesson plan template

Melanie McGhee

School Support Officer

Lesson plan templates: what are they and how should you use them?

Lesson plan templates can be an important part of your toolkit as a teacher. Lesson planning is the process that develops your thinking about a subject or topic into the lesson that you teach your pupils.

Having a strong foundation, such as a lesson plan template or resources that follow a consistent structure, can be a helpful tool for structuring your thinking.

Lesson planning is the development of a set of habits of thought.

Peps McCrea


Lesson plans can also help you remember what to do and when to do it while teaching your lesson. After all, nobody can remember everything all at once!

You might be wondering: can lesson plan templates support you to plan your lessons? And if so, how do you use them?

What is a ‘lesson plan template’?

A lesson plan template is a tool that supports your thinking process when planning a lesson. This process is the ultimate superpower, making important decisions about when, why and how your pupils will acquire powerful knowledge and master new skills within your curriculum and lessons.

A lesson plan template, or a routine structure to follow when planning, can be a great foundation for this thinking. But ultimately, you’re the expert! Only you know your pupils, curriculum and, of course, how you think about planning.

We’re here to help you as much or as little as you need, without taking away the power of thinking that goes into the final outcome: the lesson you teach your pupils.

If you want to use an existing lesson plan template to kickstart your planning, or you want to create your own, you might be wondering - what should it include?

As a starting point, you should think about the best order to plan what: planning your learning outcome before deciding on the practice your pupils will do to consolidate the new knowledge or skill.

Let’s take a closer look.

Sequencing in your curriculum

You will want to consider your lessons' positioning in terms of your wider curriculum. What do your pupils already know?

Consider your pupils’ current knowledge in the context of your wider curriculum. It might be useful to have your curriculum plan to hand. That way, you can check what your pupils have already explored and where they are up to on their learning journey.

Lesson outcomes

What do you want your pupils to know and understand within the specific window of time you are planning for? This helps you form your learning outcome. While this should build towards a bigger picture, you will want this to remain achievable for the lesson you’re teaching.

This lesson outcome is a small step in a unit and wider curriculum. Ideally, your learning outcomes should be created together at unit level, before you teach any of the lessons.

You will want to reference the unit you are planning for to make sure that they build towards the overall outcomes of the unit. Imagine that you are building a bank of knowledge for your pupils. Each learning outcome should flow neatly over the course of the unit.

We can help you with examples of learning outcomes. Each of our lesson planning and teaching resources has a learning outcome to describe what pupils should be able to master by the end of your lesson. Use them in your own planning, or simply as inspiration when starting afresh and writing your own learning outcomes.

Incorporating explanation, checks for understanding and practice into your lesson plan template

Once you’ve pinned down your learning outcomes, you could use a lesson plan template to help your thinking around teacher explanations, checks for understanding and what your pupils should do to reinforce your teaching.

Your lesson plan template could help you generate ideas for these elements quickly and succinctly, record your thinking when planning, and prompt your memory.

Key takeaways:

  1. Planning is a cognitive process. It is all in the thinking. It might help to write this down and formalise it into a template or plan using a lesson plan template, but the thinking is what matters.
  2. The best lesson plan templates will prompt and support your thinking. Do they guide you to think about order and sequencing, learning outcomes, prior knowledge activation, assessment and pupil practice?
  3. Good lesson plan templates can aid your memory in the lesson. Nobody can remember everything at once! Use your lesson plans to make sure important elements, such as checks for understanding, are included.

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