THE BEST OF THE MARSHALL MEMO

How to energize leadership, teaching, and learning in 22 key areas

Planning Units and Lessons:

Selected Memo Summaries

Ideally, everything that students do during a lesson – reading, discussing, listening, writing, experimenting – is part of a larger plan aimed at producing, years later, well-educated graduates. This selection of Marshall Memo summaries explores big-picture thinking about curriculum, unpacks effective unit and lesson planning, and explores how individual lessons can maximize student learning. 

Questions to consider:
  • What is the problem to which unit planning is the solution?
  • What can a lesson plan add to a good unit plan?
  • What evidence of curriculum planning should a supervisor see in a classroom?

Here's the table of contents:

Planning Units and Lessons


Macro Curriculum Planning

  1. Building a coherent curriculum
  2. The ultimate power standard: what kids will remember in forty years
  3. A California high school crafts schoolwide essential questions
  4. Capstone projects for about-to-graduate eighth graders

Unit Planning

  1. Solving lesson-planning challenges with backwards unit design
  2. Teaching so students will transfer what they learn
  3. Focusing a curriculum unit on intended outcomes
  4. Teachers as curriculum designers versus curriculum implementers

Lesson Planning

  1. Lesson plans focused on three key questions
  2. Lesson plans: suggested elements
  3. What makes an effective lesson?

Structuring Lessons So All Students Learn

  1. Beginning and ending lessons effectively
  2. Structuring lessons so students engage in productive struggle
  3. Universal design for learning in action
  4. What UDL looks like in two classrooms

Professional Learning Suggestions