All kinds of factors lead to not having enough time to prepare a lesson. Sometimes we’re asked at the last minute. Sometimes we’ve had sick family members to care for. Sometimes we prepared, but it was the wrong lesson (hey, it happens!).
Whatever the reason, there are some things we can do to make even quickly prepared lessons more effective. Lesson planning in a hurry doesn’t have to mean a poorly executed lesson.
Lay the Foundation:
Think about those shows where they build a home in twenty-four hours. What has to have happened first? The foundation has to have been laid.
The same is true for rapid lesson preparation.
In order to prep lessons efficiently, the following must be in place:
- Your scriptures must become a universal manual. Elder Richard G. Scott recommended replacing your scriptures each year so that you can see them with fresh ideas. If you do this, make sure to keep a master set with all of your markings and notes and glued-in extras. This will be your ready-made manual at any time.
- Creating a culture of class member preparation makes the teacher’s job both easier and more aligned with what it should be. If it is not your class, that will not be possible, but if this is the class you are called to teach, help them prepare to learn as a critical part of preparing yourself to teach. If they’ve read/pondered the lesson, you are miles (hours) ahead.
- Your life must be prep. Look for lessons everywhere:
- Add stories or ideas you find to a sticky note in the Topical Guide so you have a resource ready to go. You may wish to have system for flagging your journal with useful stories that reinforce your experiences with doctrine and inspiration.
- Have a list of quotes from Church leaders on various topics available. You can download a large selection here. Always be mindful that because we are led by living prophets, opinions and policies quoted by general authorities must be considered in light of currently revealed truth.
Steps to Prepare a Lesson Quickly:
- No matter how rushed you are, pause and pray to know the will of the Lord regarding the lesson.
- Discover the essential questions:
- What should happen in the lives of the students as a result of the lesson? What should they understand, feel, desire or do? (Select one. If you have ample time, there may be more that would work well, but if you are in a hurry, you must focus.)
- Which principles in the lesson are the most pertinent to the class right now? (Select no more than two.)
- Which scriptures will you focus on?
- How should you teach those principles (use this list of strategies for ideas)?
- Using your list of question stems, highlight the ones you will use.
- Time block the class. Plan out the lesson in 10-minute(ish) segments of time.
- Pray again.
And that’s how it’s done!
This isn’t designed to be a pattern or habit (although the resources are useful all of the time). Rather, this is designed to help teachers who find themselves in an unusual situation.
The ability to plan quickly adds another tool to the teacher toolbox!