Lesson Pacing Made Easy

Do you struggle remembering every single component of your lesson?   Does your administration conduct unannounced observations?  In Tennessee, we have unannounced observations as a part of our evaluation model.  So, I feel like I really need to be extra prepared each day to meet each component of our evaluation rubric.  Not only am I thinking about a possible observation, I am also thinking about high-quality, engaging instruction for my students.  The way I now structure my lessons promotes much deeper thinking opportunities, effective partner talk, and meaningful tasks.  To make sure I hit all components necessary for high-quality instruction, I plug everything into PowerPoint lessons.  It's a little extra time up front, but it will save your sanity throughout the week.  I will, however, include some time-saving tips at the end of the post.  I'll take you through a sample lesson of my Interactive Read Aloud, since that is what I plan for my grade level.

I always open the lesson by touching on what I taught the previous day and tying it to today's lesson.  I then take my students through the flow of the lesson, so that they know exactly to expect.  I took my Flow Cards and took screenshots of each.  I then inserted them as a picture onto the slide.  I always include this slide, but the cards may need to be moved depending on the lesson.  By taking a screenshot of each one, they are free to move around.  

Next, we state the learning goal.  I always have my students echo me and I may add a motion to what we are saying to help it really stick.  The learning goal is what I expect them to accomplish by the end of the unit or week.

This next part has been a game changer in my classroom.  What does it look like to be successful?  Our admin wanted us to begin adding success criteria to our lessons.  I knew that this would be much more meaningful and effective for our first graders if they had a visual.  So, I take a screenshot of our daily task that I ultimately use for assessment and insert that into this slide.  Depending on the task, I might give a sample of what I am looking for.  Sometimes, I only explain what the expectation is.  But I always make sure the expectation is clear, and I include how they can extend their learning by exceeding that expectation.  We grade on a 1-4 rubric scale, so I always tie it to that, which really works for my students.  You can see some examples from this particular read aloud of my success criteria.  

I am a big believer in singing songs in the classroom!  I seriously sing everything now after teaching kindergarten.  On my Ready to Learn slide, I insert some sort of song or video to relate to the standard or to build background knowledge.  You can insert a screenshot of the video, right click the image, insert hyperlink, and paste the link to the video.  It makes it so much easier to access the videos that I need for a particular lesson.

The anchor chart slide includes an image of the anchor chart we are using that week or posters that go along with the standard.  I always insert text boxes with questions that I need to remember to ask the students that relate to real-life and to make connections to prior learning and other subjects.

Sometimes for the read aloud slide, I insert a link within the story title to the story online, depending on the lesson.  This is mainly just here to let me know it's time to read the story.  This is where I fit in lots of turn and talks and all of my text-dependent questioning.  I print my questions on sticky notes, so I can just refer to those within my book.

After the read aloud, we move into independent practice.  We almost always have a daily task that we complete in our journal.  I always differentiate for my students at this point.  I go to those students individually who may need additional help and to those who need that extra extension to push their learning a little further.  Journals are such an easy way to make sure differentiation is occurring during your lesson.

After students complete their daily task, we ALWAYS share with a partner.  I have them stand face to face with their ketchup/mustard partner.  I remind them to share their response, discuss what is the same and different, and to use their accountable talk.  Once they are finished sharing, they sit down.  This is probably the most powerful part of the whole lesson!  They learn so much from one another.  If there's a misconception, it usually gets fixed right here by the students!

We always do some sort of exit ticket.  This may be on a sticky note or on their whiteboards.  Sometimes, it's just a turn and talk.  This is my final assessment piece of the lesson.  And really quickly, I have them do a self-evaluation with their thumbs.

It's so important to wrap up your lesson.  I heard a speaker explain it once as compared to a filing cabinet.  If you do not close the drawer, the information will just come right back out.  You have to close that drawer (your lesson) to retain the new learning.  On the last slide, I just review what we did that day related to the learning goal and tie it to what we will be doing the next day.

Another colleague on my team plans the math for our team.  She also uses my PowerPoint templates.  Here are a few examples from her unit on 2D shapes.  I like how she puts the questioning on one of the slides.  For reading, they are printed on sticky notes, so I don't add it to our slides, but you totally could!

You can check out the EDITABLE Lesson Pacing Slides below!  I hope they can help you in your classroom, too!!!

Be prepared for every lesson with these EDITABLE PowerPoint slides.  Plug in all components of your instruction prior to each week to create lessons that will leave you feeling prepared and ready for an observation. The way I now structure my lessons promotes much deeper thinking opportunities, effective partner talk, and meaningful tasks.  | Lesson Pacing | education


  1. Your blog is great. I read a lot of interesting things from it. Thank you very much for sharing. Hope you will update more news in the future.

  2. I love this idea. I'm a teacher in Nashville and wondered if I could see a full example of how you use it. I could start making some slides now but it seems overwhelming the work that it would take ahead of time. I use PPT all the time and this would be amazing to have. If you have a full week of reading and math I could see that would help me see that specifics that I would do. Thanks.