ChatGPT & Generative AI

Using AI to Help Organize Lesson Plans

Artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT can help educators find activities that are set up to teach designated skills.

March 15, 2023
skynesher / iStock

Like countless educators, I’ve always found that developing my lesson designs is a time-consuming task that takes hours of prep time.

Luckily, artificial intelligence (AI) developments now enable teachers to leverage AI capabilities through innovative apps like ChatGPT and Education Copilot to streamline instructional design preparation. AI technology has become faster and can be leveraged as a highly intelligent personal assistant and time-retrieval genie. 

Aside from teaching it and benefiting from Google using predictive analytics to improve my research, I didn’t know that  AI could enhance my collaborative lesson planning with the teachers I coach or my own lessons at Old Dominion University until my good friend Elizabeth Peña, who is a business marketing coach, introduced me to the power of ChatGPT. 

Here are two time-effective ways you can use ChatGPT to assist your planning for learning in your classroom. 

Use ChatGPT to Google

Don’t misinterpret this section header—ChatGPT and Google are different. The latter is primarily a tech-based search engine. The former is a conversational AI model (or chatbot) that responds like a human to the questions we input. That means we don’t have to click through different links to find what we need. Here’s how: Google pulls information from all over the internet, but users can condition ChatGPT to retrieve data it’s trained on, and it gets smarter over time. That means we can train the AI model to keenly personalize our search requests. 

I recently developed a unit plan requiring students to compose a personal narrative about their experiences with leadership and service. Using my instructional alignment tool to guide mapping, I typed in the queries below in sequence to direct ChatGPT to get me vital information instantly. 

For teachers looking to increase their lesson-planning productivity, there isn’t one way to map and align curriculum and instruction. Feel free to continue using your methods and templates and tweak these questions to suit your own lesson ideation needs better: 

  1. My middle school students have to write a personal narrative about their experience with leadership and service. Which two or three specific Common Core State Standards are relevant to this task?
  2. Now rewrite those standards into three to four “I can” statements. Although the chatbot can give you a great starting point, you may need to reword these into learning goals better suited for your students. 
  3. What formative assessments (formal and informal) can I use to check my students’ understanding of these standards?
  4. Given your “I can” statements, what lessons can I teach to help my students write their best personal narratives? 
  5. Which high-yielding strategies can I use to teach these lessons? I aim to engage all my learners in tandem with increasing academic achievement. 
  6. You mentioned using “differentiated instruction.” What methods can I use to support my English language learners to improve their narratives?
  7.  Please provide the sources you used for your responses with websites.

To help you see the power of the AI assistant, I’ve provided screenshots of our interaction in this document. After viewing the link, notice how detailed, coherent, and relevant ChatGPT’s responses can become, tailored to meet the user’s needs. Answers won’t always be perfect, and you may need to restate your queries if the chatbot’s responses need to be corrected. Also, you can use the app’s thumbs-up and thumbs-down features to teach the AI model to improve future responses. 

Use ChatGPT to Plan Activities 

Many teachers are always looking to boost engagement and real-world application by making instruction more project-based and passion-driven through allowing kids to engage in activities typically carried out outside of school, by adults at work. In my coaching work, I often see great ideas put to rest because of a need for clarity on beginning and implementing a complex task requiring expert guidance. ChatGPT can quickly assist in providing critical steps, needed resources, budget recommendations, and timelines. 

For example, I recently developed a project-based learning unit, and the major student product was a class mural. I didn’t have experience in mural design, but after I input my queries, the chatbot produced fantastic and reliable feedback. We now have a course of action for moving our project plans forward.  

Again, here’s a document detailing my interaction with the AI model. Below are my revised queries for you to tailor to any new activity. 

  1. I’m having my _____-grade class design a _____ to be displayed in our school, but this is the first time we’ve done it. What are the proper steps to take? 
  2. I teach _____-grade _____. Which specific ELA and math CCSS apply to this activity? 
  3. Please rewrite these standards into “I can” statements in the context of the _____ design. 
  4. What tools and resources will we need to plan and design the _____? 
  5. Please put the categories and budget amounts into a table. Use the medium for each projected amount for each category. I need to provide it to our budget coordinator. 
  6. I see my kids every day for 50 minutes. About how many weeks will the _____ design need? 
  7. We live in _____. Please provide local _____ we can contact for further guidance. Please provide their websites and social media accounts if available. 
  8. Please provide websites and sources you used for the _____ design steps and standards.

Lastly, as you work with AI models, you may need to restate questions in order to teach them to provide better results. Undoubtedly, more AI models are headed our way. But no matter how advanced AI models become, they will never replace the human touch. Therefore, I always say, embrace tech along with our human ingenuity. 

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Filed Under

  • ChatGPT & Generative AI
  • Technology Integration
  • 6-8 Middle School
  • 9-12 High School

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