You are here

Planning Powerful Instruction

 Are you ready to plan your best lessons ever?

Planning Powerful Instruction, Grades 2-5

Planning Powerful Instruction, Grades 6-12

With so many demands and so much content available for teachers, we need to put a higher value on an often-overlooked skill: planning learning experiences that will both engage and inspire our students, by design, over time.

Planning Powerful Instruction for Grades 2-5 and Grades 6-12 are your go-to guides for transforming student outcomes through stellar instructional planning. The seven-step framework—the EMPOWER model—gives you techniques proven to help students develop true insight and understanding. You’ll have at your fingertips:

  • the real reasons why students engage—and what you must do to ensure they do
  • a framework to help you create, plan, and teach the most effective units and lessons in any subject area
  • more than 50 actionable strategies to incorporate right away
  • suggestions for tailoring units for a wide range of learners
  • downloadable, ready-to-go tools for planning and teaching

Whether you are a classroom teacher, an instructional leader, or a pre-service teacher, Planning Powerful Instruction will forever change the way you think about how you teach and the unique value you bring to your learners.

Free Resources for Planning Powerful Instruction


  1. Introducing the Empower Canvas
    In this excerpt from Planning Powerful Instruction, Grades 2-5, the authors introduce and explain the EMPOWER framework that will empower your units and lessons for transformational teaching and learning.
  2. Questioning Move 1: Three-Level Questioning Guide
    This three-level questioning guide moves learners through the levels of literal, inferential, and reflective evaluation and application questions.
  3. Visualization Move 2: Picture Mapping
    In this activity, students will use a picture map to walk through the skills of (1) identifying key details and capturing the connections among them in order to (2) identify topics, then (3) identify patterns of key details in order to identify main ideas and make deeper meaning of the text.
  4. Frontloading Move 2: Where Do I Stand?
    This activity primes and orients students through discussion of controversial concepts that they will explore in the unit. Students also practice complex processes like making claims, supporting reasoning with evidence, listening and mirroring, summarizing, and addressing opposing viewpoints and reservations to their own thinking.
  5. Traditional Teaching and Transformational Teaching: The Pedagogy of EMPOWERment
    In this excerpt, the authors clearly define the difference between traditional or informational teaching and transformational teaching or the pedagogy of EMPOWERment.


Helpful Blogs for Planning Powerful Instruction

Are Your Lessons Starting Strong? Priming and Orienting Learners for Success

Are Your Lessons Starting Strong? Priming and Orienting Learners for Success

"The most effective teachers don’t take student engagement for granted. Yet in our work in classrooms, we see that not enough attention is paid to good beginnings; this lack of attention violates much of what we know from research about motivation, optimal experience, schema theory, reading research, and cognitive science in general..." Keep reading.

Are You Planning the Best Possible Instruction?

Are You Planning the Best Possible Instruction?

"You face a high-stakes conundrum when it comes to planning instruction: either create curriculum from scratch, cobbling together their own resources with ones from online repositories that have little to no quality control OR follow a mandated, scripted curriculum from publishers that requires extensive supplementation, personalization, and/or renovation to make it usable..." Keep reading.