CorePlanner Blog


4 Tips for Writing Vertically Aligned Lesson Plans

When it comes to planning I think there’s an understanding that vertically aligned lesson plans are a bonus, instead of a rule. That’s to say that if you have covered all the bases for everything you need in your lesson, AND you aligned it to content for next year, you’ve really gone above and beyond. Vertical alignment is challenging and finding time to co-plan across grade levels can be very difficult.

Here are some easy and accessible ways to vertically align your lesson plans:

1. Assess them the same way.

a. Does the 8th grade always take scantron tests? Begin giving your 7th grades scantron tests to prepare them for the format. The content will be different, but the test-taking skills will be the same.

2. Pick a strategy

a. Get together with other teachers in your department and pick a strategy you will teach for note-taking, or studying or learning vocabulary and use it exclusively. This united front will show students how much you believe in this strategy and will allow them to master it. Their chance to practice it with different subjects (for example with algebra and geometry) will grow their understanding of it.

3. Align the time

a. Does each grade give a project? What if February was the month for projects? Get together with grade leaders and choose a month for projects. This will give students annual practice at an alternate assessment and prime them for that new assignment coming down the pike.

4. Scaffold

a. Of course, vertical alignment means planning down as well as up. Review lower-level skills to reinforce them.

How do you vertically align lessons??