When planning units, lessons, activities, etc., my thoughts may become clouded with ideas.
When this happens, a few questions focus me on what’s important:
What is the goal of this unit, lesson or activity?
What do students need to learn or practice to reach the end goal?
How can I simplify the instructions?
What is the best way to arrange the students, the materials and the class time?
As I answer these questions, I keep in mind the broad principles that guide me: teaching and learning through inquiry, student choice, scaffolding of questions and tasks, varying modes of learning to reach all learners.
Just as the best lessons often involve the least talking from me, the best plans often involve the least clutter.