At Toddle, we’ve always believed that technology has the power to transform teaching and learning. But, with generative AI, and specifically ChatGPT, this revolution is unfolding faster than we ever imagined!
Inside this resource, you’ll find a diverse range of practical applications for integrating ChatGPT into your lesson planning toolkit. I’ve included ready-to-use prompts that you can customise to generate ideas and streamline your lesson preparation like never before. Elevate your lesson planning and teaching with this prompt guide as your trusted companion.
- To navigate the resource, simply click on the links in the table of contents, allowing you to explore different sections.
- To make it easier for you, the ChatGPT prompts are presented in pink boxes, ready to be copied and pasted directly into ChatGPT.
- It is important to note that OpenAI has created multiple versions of ChatGPT. The prompts in this resource will work with all versions (both free and paid) of ChatGPT. In our experience, we have seen that the more advanced the version, the better the output
Embrace the potential of AI as your new co-teacher and discover the creative possibilities that ChatGPT can bring to your teaching practice.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI-powered language model that can serve as a virtual assistant and educational companion for teachers. It’s like having a knowledgeable and supportive friend by your side, one who is ready to help with planning lessons, answering questions, brainstorming, designing resources, and offering creative ideas. With its ability to understand and generate human-like responses, ChatGPT empowers educators by making complex concepts more accessible, fostering collaboration, and sparking enthusiasm for teaching and learning.
How to get started
For this guide, we will be working with Open AI ChatGPT. Click on the link. You will need to create an account or sign in with your email address.
To navigate the chat, simply type your question or message into the chatbox and hit send. The AI will then generate a response based on what you’ve said. You can continue the conversation by asking follow-up questions or providing additional information.
Throughout the guide, I will give you copy-and-paste prompts you can use to explore ChatGPT. I will also help you develop the skill set to craft your own prompts!
Making the most of ChatGPT
As an educator, ChatGPT can be a powerful tool, but it requires a shift in mindset. Rather than thinking of it as just another technology tool, you need to see it as a co-teacher that can assist you in brainstorming ideas and collaborating on lesson plans.
Here are some characteristics of ChatGPT that will help you embrace this mindset:
- Personalised: One of the great things about ChatGPT is that it allows for personalised responses. This means that you can tailor the AI’s responses to meet your specific needs. Does your school or district require you to write objectives using a specific format? ChatGPT can adapt its answers to accommodate your needs.
- Collaborative: Moreover, everything generated by ChatGPT is collaborative, which means that it’s always a first draft that can be improved upon. This allows for a playful mindset to be adopted while exploring different ideas, as there’s always room for adjustment and refinement.
- Saves time: Using ChatGPT can help reduce the cognitive load of teaching, allowing for more time and energy to be focused on student learning. By embracing a growth mindset and experimenting with different strategies, you can fully harness the power of ChatGPT to enhance your teaching practice.
While ChatGPT can be a useful tool for generating ideas and helping you get organised, it has its limitations for lesson planning.
- ChatGPT has access to a vast amount of information, but it is not always accurate or up-to-date. It’s important to fact-check any information provided by ChatGPT to ensure its validity before using it in lesson planning.
- Additionally, ChatGPT generates links based on the context of the conversation, but these links can sometimes lead to irrelevant or non-existent pages, which can be frustrating and time-consuming if you are trying to find reliable resources.
- It’s also important to consider that, like all AI models, ChatGPT has inherent biases that can impact the information it provides. For example, if the model was trained on data that disproportionately represented one demographic or cultural group, it may reflect those biases in its responses. It is important for you to be aware of these biases and to use your own judgement when incorporating ChatGPT-generated content into your lesson plans.
Remember, ChatGPT is a brand new tool! It has the potential of being awesome but it’s important to remember that it has its own limitations. While it may sound like an expert, it is possible for the information from ChatGPT to be untrue or biased. You are still the expert!
Generating effective prompts
Develop your persona
When you interact with ChatGPT, it is important that you ask it to take on a specific personality, which we call a ChatGPT persona. For each chat, you have the freedom to set the tone and boundaries of your interaction, including the type of persona you want ChatGPT to embody. With ChatGPT personas, you can customise your experience to suit your needs and preferences, making every interaction personalised and effective.
The more information you can add to your persona about your teaching beliefs, context, and needs of your students, the more engaging and relevant the final product will be! This is also a chance for you to introduce your unit including any information you have about your unit and objectives.
This is the first, and most important, step of the process! Let’s develop your persona as a teacher. Think of this persona as your starting point whenever you plan lessons with ChatGPT. You can modify this persona to include any relevant details or needs you have.
Here is a sample initial prompt. You can copy and paste it directly into the chat box. Feel free to add or omit any aspects of the persona!
Initial Prompt: You are a grade <grade level> <subject> teacher teaching a unit about <unit overview>.You believe that students should <your beliefs about how children learn best>.
You will use this persona throughout the chat as we interact. Wait for the next prompt before responding.
Example: You are a grade 2 homeroom teacher teaching a math unit about measurements connected to the Common Core Standards for mathematics. You believe that students should acquire mathematical knowledge, concepts, and skills in real-world contexts and that maths should be a creative, collaborative subject powered by Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindsets. You believe that introducing new concepts should follow three stages: constructing meaning, applying with understanding, and transferring knowledge to real-life situations.
You will use this persona throughout the chat as we interact. Wait for the next prompt before responding.
Want to get creative? Try on these different personas when you are experimenting with ChatGPT.
- You are <a famous artist, author, historical figure> who will be interviewed by <grade level> students about <topic>
- You are a tutor working with a grade 5 student to help them with their math homework
- You are an energetic game show host creating a new show about <topic>
- You are a professional international education consultant who is an expert in constructivist, conceptual learning
- You are an editor who values providing constructive feedback and feedforward for young authors
Remember, ChatGPT can take on any persona, so the more specific you are about your needs, the better your result will be. Once you’ve established a persona, you are ready to generate a prompt.
Generating prompts will arguably be one of the most important skills we can learn and teach our students. With ChatGPT, it’s all about being able to ask the right questions. A prompt is simply a question you are asking or a task that you want ChatGPT to complete. Remember, prompt generation is an iterative process, much like teaching and learning! If you don’t like your result the first time, try again! Here are tips to keep in mind while crafting prompts of your own:
Some more quick tips:
- You can use quotation marks to separate content from context. For example, prompt: make this email more friendly and professional “<paste email text>”
- You can give the chat step-by-step instructions for any task
Lesson planning with ChatGPT
“Teachers spend seven hours per week searching for instructional resources (both free and paid-for) and another five hours per week creating their own instructional materials”(Goldberg, 2017)
Depending on your context, you might spend even more!
In this section, we will explore how to plan various types of lessons and related resources, in significantly less time, harnessing the power of ChatGPT.
I will provide copy-and-paste prompts you can use to get started and elevate your practice today. I will also suggest “going further” prompts to get your creative juices flowing and help you become more familiar with the tool’s capabilities. In this guide, lesson planning is broken down into:
- Creating a scope and sequence or unit flow
- Designing three types of lessons (hands-on and inquiry-based, direct instruction, and subject specific)
- Creating resources and differentiation
- Designing assessment
Feel free to jump to the sections that are most relevant to your practice.
Remember, you will first need to create your persona (outlined above). The persona will provide relevant information about you and your unit and is an essential first step before playing with these prompts.
Creating a scope and sequence or unit flow
Sometimes called a unit flow, unit overview, or pacing guide, your scope and sequence outlines what you teach and when. ChatGPT can be an incredibly useful tool for breaking down complex standards into a manageable weekly flow of objectives.
The one catch of creating your scope and sequence with ChatGPT is that it’s not yet great at choosing or sorting curriculum standards into units. For now, you will need to copy and paste the standards you plan to address within the unit.
Quick Tip: Whenever you copy and paste text into ChatGPT, we suggest adding quotation marks around it. This helps to distinguish your prompt or task from the input information.
You are teaching a <length> unit about <big idea>. The learning objectives for this unit are for students to “<copy and paste standards>”. Create a weekly scope and sequence.
Example: You are teaching a three week unit about measurement. The learning objectives for this unit are “1. Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, metre sticks, and measuring tapes. 2. Measure the length of an object twice, using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen.” Create a weekly scope and sequence.
Like everything in ChatGPT, you can customise the product based on your personal preferences, school, or district requirements. Here are some examples of what you might include in your unit overview.
For each week/day, include…
- a guiding question
- a weekly/daily learning objective
- skills to be developed
- connected standards
- tech integration
- real world application
- differentiation strategies
- suggested vocabulary
Designing three types of lesson plans
When it comes to lesson planning, ChatGPT is an amazing co-teacher. While it lacks depth in specific subjects or the ability to personalise lessons, it’s great at brainstorming creative ideas, providing interesting examples and explanations, and making complex ideas simple. You can save an immense amount of time by planning with ChatGPT.
For our guide, we provide prompts for three types of lesson plans:
- PBL, experiments, and games
- Direct instruction
Project-based learning, experiments, and games
Project-based learning (PBL), experiments, and games are powerful tools that can empower students to make real-world connections, take charge of their own learning and encourage creativity and collaboration. By engaging students in hands-on activities and allowing them to explore and experiment, these methods can help students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills while making learning fun and meaningful.
While these types of activities are both engaging and enriching for students, they can take an immense amount of time and creativity. With ChatGPT, you can create engaging and innovative learning experiences in a fraction of the time.
<teacher persona>. Provide 3 ideas for interesting and creative project/problem-based learning tasks that students could investigate to understand the unit. The projects/problems should be grounded in real-world problems and encourage creativity and collaboration.
<teacher persona> Provide 3 examples of experiments we might explore to understand the concept of <big idea>. The experiment should be hands-on, encourage collaboration, and invite student curiosity and reflection.
<teacher persona>. Suggest a game narrative we might explore to understand the concept of <big idea>. Suggest key characters my student can play and some challenges for the game.
- Elaborate on <specific> challenge. Provide a list of all required instructional materials and directions for playing the game.
Go further and get creative with lesson planning: Here is a collection of prompts you can try to further generate hands-on learning experiences. Remember, there are just suggestions. Feel free to play with them!
Provocation: Suggest activities we could do as a whole-class to access prior knowledge, gain empathy, build excitement, and better understand the unit content.
Sequencing: Create a project plan for <number of weeks> weeks. Create a two column chart that breaks down the objectives weekly into what the students are doing and how the teacher can support them.
Connecting locally: I live in <location> what are some authentic ways students can connect with our local community and share their learning from this unit? Provide specific local examples for each suggestion.
Subject specific lessons:
ChatGPT can provide you with resources and ideas for creating engaging maths and literacy lesson plans. Say goodbye to looking for practice problems online or brainstorming prompts, ChatGPT has an endless supply of ideas. It can be a valuable tool for streamlining the lesson planning process and enhancing the quality of instruction.
- Word problems: Generate <number> word problems for students to practise <skill>. Word problems should be written to encourage transfer of unit understanding to real-life situations.
- Quiz/tests: Generate a <number of questions> question quiz/test that includes skill practice, word problems, and a challenge question that encourages students to use creativity, justify their choices and make their thinking visible.
- Student-friendly explanations: You are an expert tutor working with a struggling <grade level> student. In student-friendly language, explain the steps for <topic>.
- Game ideas: Create a maths game for students to practise <topic>
- Design posters/anchor charts: Design a poster/anchor chart that explains the steps of <topic> in student friendly language. Include any common mnemonics to make the process simple and easy to remember.
- Writing prompts: Generate 3 potential writing prompts for <writing style>.
- Student feedback: You are a teacher editing a grade <grade level> piece of writing. You are specifically assessing <assessment criteria>. Provide specific feedback for this piece of writing. The feedback should be actionable and provide specific examples based on patterns in the writing. “<paste student writing>”
- Generating differentiated texts:
- Generate a cloze reading passage at <grade level> reading level.
- Generate a comprehension passage about <topic> at <grade level> reading level with <number> of questions for students to answer after reading
- Generate a passage to practise these words <copy and paste target words>
Direct instruction is a teacher-led approach to teaching that involves explicit and systematic instruction, modelling, and feedback. It is typically used to teach foundational knowledge and skills, such as phonics, maths facts, and grammar rules. Direct instruction is most effective when used to introduce new concepts, followed by guided and independent practice.
ChatGPT can support you in the process of simplifying and presenting information to your students.
- Presentations: Generate a lesson presentation outline for <topic>. Create a two column chart. On the left, provide a sample script for the lesson, and on the right suggest graphics or images that can be used on each slide.
- Scaffolded note taking: Create a graphic organiser for students to complete while engaging with the lesson. The organiser should have space for note taking and reflection.
- Videos/flipped learning: Create a video script for introducing <topic>. Include suggestions for visual elements to include in the video to support student understanding.
- Modelling: Give an example problem I can model for students to show <topic>. Break down the problem into steps. Create a two column chart that includes a suggested script and what I can write on the board as I model the problem.
- Independent practice: Create an exit ticket to assess student understanding of <content presented>
Resources and differentiation
Whether it’s finding the perfect skill practice or developing multiple versions of a test, teachers spend up to five hours a week making or finding resources to use in class.
ChatGPT is an incredible resource for both creating student-facing resources and differentiating content. While its online functionality is still not great (it tends to hallucinate links that don’t actually exist) it can be a great tool for creating new resources or editing existing ones.
- Generate a student facing graphic organiser for students to use while they research. Include research questions, guiding questions, and suggested vocabulary for each week of the project
- Create a <word count> comprehension passage about <topic> written at a <reading level> reading level
- Create a cloze reading about <topic> written at a <reading level> reading level
- Create a <number of questions> worksheet to practise <skill>
- Create a set of <number> flashcards at <grade level> comprehension to practise <skill>
- Create <number> writing prompts to practise <genre> of writing for <grade level> students
Provide options for differentiating the process, product, or content to accommodate a student who <needs>
- Create an extension activity for a student studying <topic>
- Modify the content for a struggling student. Provide examples of scaffolds and support I might offer
- Generate a text about <topic> at <reading level> reading level
- Provide <number> of real world examples or scenarios of <concept>
- Create a student-facing presentation. Create a two column chart. On the left, provide a teacher script, and on the right provide suggested visuals or text to appear on the slides
- Develop <number> of practice questions for <topic>
- Create a note taking organiser to support this presentation <copy and paste content>
- Generate alternative activity ideas
- Simplify the instructions for a student at <reading level> reading level
- Generate <number> of alternative assessments for students to demonstrate <objectives>
- Create alternative task requirements for student who needs <student needs>
- Create a choice board for <project overview> for students to demonstrate <objectives>
Creating assessments is one of the best ways to use ChatGPT. It is incredible at creating multiple versions of assessments and assessment tools that are student friendly.
Remember, ChatGPT is not yet great at sorting through or selecting standards. It can be helpful to copy and paste the objectives or standards you plan to assess. Also, based on its training data ChatGPT is currently biased. It is important to read through test questions to scan for inherent bias and use your best judgement as a teacher.
The first step in designing any assessment is to get clear on your success criteria. What will students know, understand, and/or be able to do as a result of the learning?
Design <timeframe>, <audience> success criteria for <grade level> <standards/ objectives>
- Lesson specific
- Student-facing “I can” statements
Another useful tool you can create is an overall assessment plan for the unit. You can add details about your assessment philosophy and/or school policy to design balanced and appropriate assessments for your unit.
Overall assessment plan
Create a continuous assessment plan for the unit. Organised by week, create a 3-column chart that organises the learning objectives, products/deliverables, and feedback/reflection opportunities. The plan should reflect the belief <assessment philosophy or school policy>.
Additionally, ChatGPT can generate many different assessments and assessment tools to meet your needs.
- rubric (single point, analytic, holistic)
- multiple choice quiz
- prompts and question
- fill-in-the blank/cloze passage
- matching activity
- self-assessment tool
- performance task using the GRASPS framework
We are living in a historic time. AI will revolutionise the way we live and work and we are just getting started with understanding it’s capabilities.
This guide is intended to introduce educators to using ChatGPT for lesson planning. As ChatGPT, and our knowledge and skills, become more sophisticated, I will continue to develop resources to support educators in maximising the use of AI for their personal and professional development.
Hopefully, you have come away from this guide inspired to play and experiment with AI to supercharge your lesson planning.