Using Planner for Your Lesson Plans

Planner brings together your curriculum, Star data on your student achievement, and high-quality instructional resources to help you develop Lesson Plans for your classroom.  Using your selected state standards learning progression, Planner saves you time by making every step in the lesson planning process easier.

The Planner Tour

When you first come to this page, you will see a brief slideshow of Planner in a pop-up window. Use the Back and Next controls at the bottom to change slides; on the final slide, select Got it! to end the slideshow.

After you have viewed all the slides at least once, a Dismiss link will appear at the bottom of the slideshow; select the link to skip the slideshow in the future. (You can view the slideshow again by selecting the next to the pace line.)

If you begin creating a Lesson Plan and then have to leave Planner before you are finished (for example, you select the Home icon in the page header), you will be prompted to enter a name for the Lesson Plan:

To save the plan as a draft, enter a name for it and select Save .

To discard your work up to this point, select Discard .

When you return to Planner, any draft plans you have saved will be listed on the bottom of the page. Select the Edit link to resume working on the Lesson Plan (or select Delete to delete it).

Planner will temporarily save your work as you go, so if you make an unexpected departure from Planner (for example, you accidentally close your browser), you will be given an opportunity to resume your work if you return to Planner within one week:

Select Continue working on this plan to resume your work, or Discard and start a new plan to delete the saved work and start over again.

Selections for Your Lesson Plan

  1. Use the drop-down lists in the sentence at the top of the page to choose the subject and class or group for the Lesson Plan.

    When you select class/group or grade options , a pop-up window will open where you can make your choices:

    • District level administrators, district staff, and other personnel assigned to more than one school will need to select schools in the Schools column .

      • Choose Select Schools at the top and then check individual schools to select them, or select All Schools to select all the available schools at once.
      • School level administrators, school staff, and other personnel assigned to only one school will not need to select a school.

      You can search the items in a column by clicking within that column and then typing Ctrl+F or control-F on the keyboard.

    • The default option is to create Lesson Plans for classes and groups. If you would rather create a Lesson Plan for all students in a grade, select the CLICK HERE link . This changes the second column from Classes and Groups to Grades:

      Select the link again to switch back to Classes and Groups.

    • If you are creating a Lesson Plan for classes and groups, check the classes and groups you want to assign the plan to in the Classes and Groups column .

      • You can select more than one class or group.
      • Teachers planning for classes and groups will only see their own classes and groups.
      • Groups in classes that aren't using Planner will not be shown in the list.
      • Selecting multiple classes/groups will make Star suggested skills unavailable; the Manage Groups function (see tip box below) will also be unavailable.
    • If you are creating a Lesson Plan for all students in a grade, choose the grade you want to assign the plan to in the Grades column .

      • You can only select one grade.
      • Teachers will only be assigning the lesson plan to their own students who are in the chosen grade.

    Once you have made your choices, select Apply at the bottom of the pop-up window to save them, or Cancel to close the pop-up window without saving your changes.

    Need to create or edit student groups? Select Manage Groups in the upper-right corner of the page. You will go to the Manage Groups page in either the Reading Dashboard or the Math Dashboard (depending on what subject you chose).

    If you have selected multiple classes/groups or grades (see above), the Manage Groups function will not be available.

  2. Next, choose the timeframe to plan for based on the date range .

    You can choose one of the standard weekly timeframes or custom dates . Note that you can have more than one Lesson Plan for the same dates.

    If you choose to use custom dates, you can either type the start and end dates ( and ) or select them from the calendars that open as you click in each field . When you're done, select Continue (or Cancel if you decide not to use custom dates).

  3. After making your selections, you will see the placement level . Based on Star assessment data and Renaissance Learning's student growth models, the placement level is an estimated answer to the question: "If the students in the class/group (or grade) that I have selected were to take a Star assessment on the first day of the time period I have selected, what would their median Scaled Score be?"

    This estimation allows you to use Star's science (Star's proven validity and reliability) to have a very good sense of your students' achievement level as of today. The placement level is calculated using some of the students' recent tests and typical growth rates (for more information, see Student Growth Percentile). Select the on the right for more information .

    By default, the skills you will view are based on the learning progression (Star's recommendations). If you would rather view skills based on your school's pacing guide (which is aligned to your curriculum), select the on the right . In the pop-up window, select Pacing Guide , and then Change Strategy . (You can change back to the learning progression in the same way.)

  4. The number in the slider above the pace bar is the selected point in the pacing guide or learning progression based on the placement level. Select the arrows to either side of it (or click on the pacing guide/learning progression line itself) to raise or lower its value. As you do this, the following information will change:

    Note: If you have chosen to make the lesson plan for all students in a grade, the pace bar will be set to the grade you selected.

  5. Check the learning objectives (skills) that you want to include in your new Lesson Plan. In the example below, the teacher has chosen the second, third, and fourth skill cards shown.

    • Suggested skills have a "Suggested" indicator at the bottom . (If you chose multiple classes/groups or grades to assign the plan to, these indicators will not be shown.)
    • Skills that are already used in previous lessons plans are marked with a message that tells you if they are in a draft plan or have been generated . A draft plan is a Lesson Plan that you have started, but that you haven't generated.
    • Focus skills are also marked ; these are the skills that are most critical for success at each grade level.

    Once selected, the skills are listed below the skill cards . You can remove a skill by selecting the on the right .

  6. To see more information about a skill, such as the standard, select the at the bottom of the card . You will see the skill information in a new window, with the skill details shown by default. Select one of the categories on the left to see domains and standards, subskills, and prerequisite skills. (Some skills may not have subskills or prerequisites.)

    Select Close to close the information window.

  7. If you want to find specific skills to include in a Lesson Plan, select the above the skill cards .

    1. In the pop-up window, enter a keyword to search for and select the domain you want to search within from the Show drop-down list . Then select the on the right side of the keywords field .

    2. Below the keywords field, you will see how many skills match your keywords . Those assessments are flagged in the pace line ; on the skill cards, the same flag appears in the upper-right corner .

      Use the slider arrows to move from one skill to the next. To include a skill in the Lesson Plan, check it.

    3. In the next stage of the process (choosing resources and assignments), you may be presented with assessments that address the subject you have chosen. In some programs, such as Star Custom, it is possible for users to create their own assessments (which can be for their own use or for others to also use). If you know of such an assessment and you want to include it in the next stage of lesson planning, select Select an assessment... under the domains drop-down list .

      A pop-up window will open, showing all the available assessments that were created by users and that match the subject chosen. You can select an assessment , search for a specific user-created assessment , or select Cancel to close this window without selecting an assessment.

      Note: If you select an assessment in this window, you will immediately be taken to the next stage of creating a Lesson Plan (adding student resources and assignments). Although you can return to this page, the Select an assessment... link will no longer be available.

  8. When you have finished choosing the skills to include in the Lesson Plan, select Continue .

Reviewing Created Lesson Plans and Editing Draft Lesson Plans

At the bottom of the page, you'll see a list of the Lesson Plans that you have already created.

For generated Lesson Plans, select Review to see the skills, resources, and assessments that are in the plan once again; you cannot change generated Lesson Plans. You can also find teacher resources.

For Lesson Plans that you haven't generated yet, select Edit to finish choosing the skills, resources, and assessments and to generate the Lesson Plan. (These plans are automatically saved as drafts until you generate them.)

You can also select Delete to permanently remove either a draft or generated Lesson Plan.

If you are in the process of creating a Lesson Plan and have chosen multiple classes/groups, the list of Lesson Plans you have already created will not be shown.