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Free Lesson Plan Templates and Tools

by Miguel Guhlin
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It used to be that it wasn’t easy to change lesson plan formatting. And format changes were met with questions and frustration unless there was a good reason for the change. Once upon a time, teachers turned in lesson plans a week or two before lesson implementation. But what was the goal of early lesson plan submission? It supposedly ensured campus administrators had something to hold teachers accountable to. Today, that kind of advanced planning has changed and lesson plans take on a variety of formats. Let’s look at some of the ways new digital tools and templates make lesson planning a little easier.

Lesson Plan Templates

If you’re like me, you made your own lesson plan template then persuaded everyone else to use it. This was great for me since I made graphic organizers that were easy to view. However, graphic organizer-style lesson plans have fallen out of favor these days. And many teachers might prefer to use a pre-made format. With that in mind, here are a few sources for lesson plan templates in popular formats.

Source #1: GooDocs

GooDocs has a wealth of lesson plan templates you can use. These are in Google Docs and Google Sheets formats. Their collection includes a variety of styles. Here are a few they offer, and you can explore their site for more:

They even include a Student Lesson Study Plan (Sheets) for students to use, which is one way to give students ownership of their learning.

Source #2: Teachers Pay Teachers

Don’t mind paying for lesson plan templates? Look no further than Teachers Pay Teachers. It provides an online space to pay for digital lesson plan templates. Here are a few free options available, but you can find many more teacher-created formats on this site.

You can filter and search for paid templates, free templates, grade-level templates, or focus on a particular content area (e.g., reading, math).

Source #3: Template.net

Boasting an extensive collection of lesson plans, Template.net offers so much. You can find traditional and homeschool lesson plan outlines. You will also find templates ranging from early childhood to higher ed. Templates are available in Google Docs as well as Microsoft Office formats. What’s more, you can preview the templates!

lesson plan templates

Source #4: EduTechSpot

Offering lesson plan templates in Microsoft Word and Google Docs, EduTechSpot shines. Per the website, templates range from simple to more complex.

lesson plan templates

Among their selections are the following (Google Docs links only, but Microsoft Word is available for all formats, too):

These are very nicely designed templates. I highly recommend checking them out.

Source #5: SlidesMania

lesson plan templates

You may already be aware of all the wonderful Google Slides templates at SlidesMania. Here are a few that focus on lesson plan templates. These offer an added benefit over Google Docs, Sheets, or Microsoft Word/Excel– Google Slides documents allow for embedding videos. This makes for handy tutorials or explanations for colleagues.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of lesson plan templates available. You can even find one from Tammy Worcester Tang. It won’t be long before you have a collection of documents in your Google Drive or OneDrive.

Digital Lesson Planner

Of course, you need not depend on specific documents that you have to organize. You could create entire notebooks of lesson plans. There are various notebook tools that allow for the needed collaboration between teams or PLCs.

For example, you could create a OneNote notebook if you’re in a Microsoft 365 environment. This OneNote notebook could be set up as a Class or Staff notebook to allow teacher teams to have shared access. A grade-level team would access only their folder of lessons. The campus administrator would have access to all lessons from all teams.

Another approach would be to use a tool like Google’s Cursive or Jamboard apps. Although my preference is for Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, it is really a matter of preference.

Free Online Planning Tools

Other educators rely on a variety of free online lesson planning tools that aren’t necessarily templates. One tool is Chalk’s Planboard. It is a free online lesson planner and gradebook with wide use. Tools like this have an added benefit not available with Google or Microsoft docs– they allow you to track lessons and their alignment to standards and lesson progressions. Two additional benefits are that Chalk Planboard makes it easy to share lessons with others and includes archiving.

One drawback to solutions like Planboard and Eduphoria Forethought is cost. If you are one teacher, using these solutions is free. However, if you start adding additional teachers and campus administrators, you’ll find yourself getting a demo and asking for a pricing quote.

I hope you enjoy these templates and planning tools and find them helpful. Do you have a specific tool or format that you prefer? If so, share with us in the comments.

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