Lean Lesson Plans: the data-informed way to teach

Daniel Morse
2 min readMar 29, 2022

Teachers radically underutilize the data available to them in class. Teachers can create combinations of activities that make education more responsive and adaptive than ever before — they just need a template.

Educators missed something. Over the past 40 years, they codified the most effective teaching methods (active learning, formative assessments, “I do, we do, you do”, “think, pair, share,” etc.). They even codified the structure of effective lesson plans: “start with learning objectives” “give small challenges before scaling to bigger challenges”.

What are they missing? Data-driven classrooms. Teachers radically underutilize the data available to them. They miss countless opportunities to capture measures mid-class on student skill level and in-class experience. This data can be used to make real-time chameleon-like changes as they teach — both in the lesson plan structure and content. The data can help teachers meet each student’s specific need with the perfect challenge, resource, and support. And I repeat — they can do this adaptation LIVE within a single class session. This kind of live-evolving classroom is a mix of “personalized” and “adaptive” learning.

How can we best create this magic? How do we weave together all the tools, activities, and research-backed teaching practices? And in what order?

We need a new modern-day lesson plan. I call this this lesson plan a “Lean Lesson Plan”

“Lean Lesson Plans” are adaptive data-driven lesson plan templates that optimize personalized, differentiated, self-paced and competency-based learning.”

The key is the order in which you source data, analyze and adapt.

Below are 3 Lean Lesson Plan templates that teachers can use to reformat their old lesson plans. Let’s break down how to do each step of this masterful chameleon teaching:

⚠️ WARNING ⚠️: the following section dives into the technical weeds of effective teaching. Non-educators may experience boredom, laziness of focus and even more boredom. Proceed at your own risk.