Artificial intelligence can help you write lesson plans faster -- and give you new ideas you might not consider. Here are some tips and strategies you can use.
Planning lessons has always been a struggle for me.
When I have planned lessons for my high school Spanish classes, I've almost always over-thought them.
I would worry about engaging my students. Making my lessons relevant and interesting.
Some teachers just sit down and crank them out.
I, on the other hand, have undergone an existential crisis seemingly every time.
And it takes forever.
Help is on the way. It can help all of us in education -- the chronic over-thinkers (like me), the quick-draw fast planners, and all of us in between.
Part 1: 10 ways AI can help us plan lessons better and faster
Today's AI assistants have lots and lots of information in their data sets about what makes a quality lesson plan. And if you keep asking the assistant follow-up questions, you'll keep getting closer and closer to what you're looking for.
The result? Minutes of saved time.
If you save minutes over and over, you know what you get? Hours of saved time.
Compile enough hours of saved time over the course of a school year -- or a teaching career -- and it changes how we feel about our career -- and what we can do during it.
Let's save some time -- and get some creative ideas for lesson planning.
Here's how artificial intelligence can help.
AI for EDUCATORS
Learning Strategies, Teacher Efficiencies, and a Vision for an Artificial Intelligence Future by Matt Miller
Available NOW on AMAZON!
1. Ask ChatGPT for a lesson plan.
Yes, AI assistants like ChatGPT can write lesson plans! Of course, they're based on info published online and in books about lesson plans, so don't expect anything super innovative. But we're not coming to ChatGPT for innovative.
We're coming for a starting point. We're looking for a first draft.
Once we get that first draft, we're able to adjust it. Throw out the parts you don't like. Keep the ones you do. Adjust the whole thing based on what you know about your students, about your content, etc.
2. Ask Midjourney or DALL-E to create a lesson hook.
Artificial intelligence image creators like Midjourney (midjourney.com) or DALL-E will make just about anything you ask for. Create a custom image related to the topic you're planning to teach. Make it provocative. Make it surprising. Ask it what a historical character you're studying would look like as a child. Ask it for a rendering of a scene in a book you're reading. Sometimes, a surprising image -- or one that makes students think -- is enough to hook students into a lesson.
3. Ask ChatGPT for analogies.
Our brains love analogies. They connect something new -- the content or ideas students are learning about -- to something that's already established in our brains. When we do that, it helps us understand how new things work because we have an existing paradigm for it. AI assistants like ChatGPT can create analogies for us -- and explain the connection so it helps students understand.
4. Ask Curipod for some interactive slides.
When you're introducing new material to students, sometimes it's helpful to have some slides with information, images, and even questions for discussion or to demonstrate comprehension. When we as humans create slides, we often use certain rules over and over -- or draw upon successful experiences from our past to create slides. Curipod (curipod.com) asks for a topic and your content standards. Then it creates a set of interactive slides, complete with details, images, discussion questions, comprehension questions, and more. These slides can engage students in learning about new ideas and help them to understand.
5. Ask ChatGPT for common misconceptions or struggles.
Sometimes, half the battle in teaching isn't knowing how to present new ideas. It's knowing how to respond when students struggle. We often don't know exactly what students are struggling with -- and when we ask them, sometimes they can't quite articulate it. Ask an AI assistant like ChatGPT about common misconceptions or struggles that people have when learning about or trying to understand what you're teaching. You can ask it for solutions and/or come up with your own.
6. Ask ChatGPT for questions and topics for discussions.
Once students have learned about something new, there's value in having them discuss it. They can talk about the content -- what they understand and what they don't. They can discuss their feelings -- what the like or don't like about what they've learned. They can discuss their learning journey -- what is easy, difficult, meaningful to them. Want some ideas on how to engage students in those discussions? Ask ChatGPT or another AI assistant for ideas.
7. Ask ChatGPT to help you differentiate instruction.
Can you see a group of students who isn't served quite well enough by whole-group instruction? Is there a specific student who could stand to have some modifications? If you're looking for ideas, ask an AI assistant like ChatGPT. Give it some details about the group of students or individual and ask it for suggestions on how to meet their unique needs.
8. Get a YouTube video summary with the Glasp Chrome extension.
Glasp makes an extension for the Google Chrome browser called YouTube Summary with Chat GPT. Install the extension in your Google Chrome browser. When you have a YouTube video open, the extension will use ChatGPT to create a summary of the video. Use this for yourself to get an overview of the content of a video. Or create a summary for your students for review purposes or to give them a preview of what they're about to watch.
9. Ask ChatGPT to help you create a rubric.
Lots of teachers struggle with creating rubrics. Often, they're intimidated by the format and getting all of the details right. Some just don't feel they can get the indicators, criteria, and rating scale quite right. Thankfully, AI assistants like ChatGPT have lots of information about successful rubrics in their dataset -- and they've trained on it to identify patterns that can be helpful to you. Ask your AI assistant for a rubric -- and be sure to include specifics about what you're looking for when you make the request. Bonus: Ask it to format the rubric in a table for you.
10. Ask ChatGPT for reflection topics.
When students reflect on learning, they place it in context with other things they've learned. They think metacognitively about how they learn. When all of this happens, students make the most of their learning. Often, it only takes a little time -- but the results are great. Asking AI for some reflection questions -- to help students reflect on content but also on themselves as learners -- can save us some time and help our students.
Part 2: A workflow: Breathe life into content standards
As educators collaboration can be energizing. It can boost our productivity and reignite the flame for creating great lessons that we had when we first began teaching. Bouncing ideas off of our colleagues and co-creating something that we can each take into our own classes and make our own.
Unfortunately, we rarely get the time we need to collaborate with our colleagues and if we do the topic is often set by an agenda created by admin. Those open brainstorming sessions where ideas fly and great content is created, shared and molded for our students are far and few between. If you are at a site where you do get to enjoy this type of collaboration and planning time with your colleagues then kudos to your admin! You’re a lucky staff!
For the rest of us, lesson planning is an important but often lonely part of your job. Creating a lesson plan that aligns with state standards can be time-consuming and challenging.
With the help of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT we can brainstorm, bounce around ideas, rework lessons and get feedback on them.
Think of AI as your personal teaching assistant. It’s like having that colleague next door who shares a great lesson with you to try with your class. Then after you try it, modifying it to fit your own class, you sit can reflect together and decide what worked and what didn’t.
Here’s how it can work:
Step 1: Create a lesson plan with ChatGPT
Identify the standard
Choose a standard from your state’s curriculum that you want to address in your lesson. This could be a standard related to math, science, language arts, or social studies. You can copy the standard directly from your state website.
Input the standard into ChatGPT
Once you have identified the standard, input it into ChatGPT. You can do this by typing in the standard or copying and pasting it into the chatbot. ChatGPT will analyze the standard and generate a response that provides an overview of the key concepts and skills related to the standard.
Use the response to create a lesson plan
Using the response generated by ChatGPT, you can begin to create your lesson plan. Consider the key concepts and skills related to the standard and brainstorm activities and assessments that will address these areas.
- Identify the key concepts and skills related to the standard. For example, if the standard is related to reading comprehension, the key concepts might include identifying the main idea, making inferences, and summarizing.
- Consider how you can introduce these concepts to your students. Brainstorm activities that will engage your students and help them understand the material. For example, you might use a graphic organizer to help students identify the main idea of a text.
- Think about how you can assess student understanding of the key concepts and skills. For example, you might have students write a summary of a text to assess their ability to summarize.
- Consider how you can differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students. For example, you might provide additional support for struggling students or challenge advanced students with more complex texts.
- Determine how you will integrate technology into your lesson plan to enhance student learning. For example, you might have students use a digital tool to create a visual representation of the main idea of a text.
Remember, the response generated by ChatGPT is just a starting point for your lesson plan. Use it as a guide as you create engaging and effective activities and assessments that align with the standard you've chosen.
Step 2: Use your teacher brain and expertise along with other tools (including AI) to refine and enhance the lesson plan
Once you have a rough draft of your lesson plan, refine it and make adjustments as needed. Consider the needs of your students and how you can differentiate instruction to meet their needs. Think about how you can incorporate technology, hands-on activities, and other strategies to engage students and enhance their learning.
Teacher Toolbox: AI Tools
Teacher Toolbox: Templates
- Canva Graphic Organizers and Worksheets (Get a free EDUPro Account to unlock all of the templates)
- Ditch That Textbook template library
Teacher Toolbox: Teaching Resources
Step 3: Identify a way to assess student learning
Assessing student learning is an important part of any lesson plan. This includes a quick check for understanding, a formative assessment, exit ticket or a summative assessment.
Teacher Toolbox - Assessment Tools
- Fun formative assessment: 12 easy, no-tech ideas you can use tomorrow
- Draw, choose, write or say: Fantastic formative assessments
Consider how you can use ChatGPT or another AI tool to assess student understanding of the material. For example, you can have students ask ChatGPT questions related to the standard and review their responses to assess their understanding of the key concepts and skills.
Step 4: Review student work and give feedback
Consider asking ChatGPT or another AI tool for feedback on various aspects, such as grammar, spelling, and content. You can input a student response or a common response or mistake into ChatGPT and ask it for some feedback prompts.
Lesson Plan Examples
Lesson Example 1 - Elementary Reading
Note: Text was generated by ChatGPT (unless another AI tool was used and noted). Bold text was added by me.
"Write a lesson plan for the Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.2 - Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text using the Madeline Hunter Lesson Design Framework" (Entered into ChatGPT)
- Nonfiction texts on various topics (one per student or pair)
- Graphic organizer for main idea and key details
- Blue main idea & details graphic organizer (Edit as needed and print from Canva)
- Graphic organizer for summarizing
- Summarizing graphic organizer/worksheet (Edit as needed and print from Canva)
- Writing materials
- Students will be able to identify the main idea of a text and explain how key details support it.
- Students will be able to summarize a text in their own words.
|5 minutes|| Anticipatory Set: Activate prior knowledge on the topic by asking students if they know what the main idea of a text is. Have them share their thoughts and ideas, and write them on the board|
Share a video to support understanding How to find the main idea and supporting details from McGraw Hill
|10 minutes||Direct Instruction: Define the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details. Show examples of how to identify the main idea and key details in a text.|
|20 minutes||Guided Practice: Pass out the nonfiction texts to the students or pairs. Instruct students to read the text and fill out the graphic organizer for main idea and key details. As they read, circulate around the room and assist students as necessary.|
|5 minutes||Check for Understanding: Have students share their main idea and key details with a partner or in a small group. Check for understanding by asking questions related to the text.|
|15 minutes||Independent Practice: Distribute the graphic organizer for summarizing. Instruct students to summarize the text in their own words. Encourage them to use the main idea and key details from their graphic organizer.|
|5 minutes||Closure: Have students share their summaries with a partner or in a small group. Then, ask them to share one thing they learned about the topic.|
As a summative assessment, have students read a different nonfiction text and write a brief summary that includes the main idea and key details. You can use a rubric to assess their ability to identify the main idea and use key details to support it.
Differentiation: For students who need additional support, provide them with a simplified text or allow them to work with a partner. For students who need an extra challenge, provide them with a more complex text or have them summarize the text in a paragraph.
Lesson Example 2 - Middle School Science
Note: Text was generated by ChatGPT (unless another AI tool was used and noted). Bold text was added by me.
"Create a lesson plan for the standard "MS-PS1-1 Matter and its Interactions Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures." using the explore, explain, apply lesson plan framework" (Entered into ChatGPT)
|Lesson Plan - MS-PS1-1|
|Objective: Introduce the concept of atomic composition and provide students with an opportunity to explore and investigate the properties of matter.|
|Activity: Provide students with a variety of materials, such as sugar, salt, sand, and water. Ask them to explore and investigate the properties of each material. Guide them to make observations about the similarities and differences between the materials. Have students work in groups to create a chart or Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the materials based on their properties.|
|Objective: Introduce the concept of atomic composition and explain how it relates to the properties of matter.|
|Activity: Using the chart or Venn diagram created by the students in the Explore phase, lead a discussion on the atomic composition of the materials. Introduce the concept of atoms and molecules and explain how they contribute to the properties of matter. Use visual aids, such as models of atoms and molecules, to enhance students' understanding.|
|Objective: Apply the concept of atomic composition to simple molecules and extended structures.|
|Activity: Provide students with a simple molecule, such as H2O, and an extended structure, such as a diamond. Ask them to work in groups to develop a model that describes the atomic composition of each structure. Have them present their models to the class and lead a discussion on the similarities and differences between the two models.|
|Objective: Evaluate students' ability to develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.|
|Assessment: Provide students with a new simple molecule and an extended structure. Ask them to work in groups to develop a model that describes the atomic composition of each structure. Have them present their models to the class and use a rubric to assess their ability to describe the atomic composition of the structures.|
|Objective: Allow students to extend their understanding of atomic composition and its applications.|
|Activity: Provide students with a real-world scenario, such as the design of a new material, and ask them to develop a model that describes the atomic composition of the material. Have them present their models to the class and lead a discussion on the applications of atomic composition in real-world scenarios.|
|Objective: Allow students to reflect on what they learned and its relevance to the real world.|
|Activity: Have students write a reflection on what they learned about atomic composition and its applications in the real world. Have them share their reflections with the class and lead a discussion on how their understanding of atomic composition can be applied in their daily lives.|