How Can I Use Marzano to Lesson Plan?

Marzano Lesson Plan

Okay, so you’ve seen the Marzano Placemat and know how it’s organized. Now what? The chart and language used can be overwhelming, especially if your school or district says, “Here, teach like this from now on,” without providing any high quality training. But don’t worry. In fact, there’s nothing new on it!

So, if it’s just old stuff (or new names for old stuff), why bother, right? It’s just a fad that will go away.

First, it’s not a fad. It’s an organized list of best practices. And, second, it actually saves time and makes lesson planning more effective and easier.


Like I shared in an earlier blogpost (CLICK HERE to check it out), the Marzano placemat breaks best practices into three categories: 1) Goal Setting and Monitoring, 2) Planned Learning Activities, and, 3) Enacted on the Spot Strategies. One of my biggest ah-ha moments with Marzano was that these three categories translated into my three steps of lesson planning:

STEP 1: I always start by asking myself this question, “What do I want my students to know or be able to do, and how will I know when they learned it?” This question is category one in a nutshell.

STEP 2: Once I am satisfied with my answer to the first question, I craft a scale for that lesson, then turn my attention to my second lesson planning question, “What are the best strategies or techniques to help the greatest number of my students reach mastery, and how can I help the rest? A wide range of possible strategies or techniques are listed in the second category of the Marzano placemat to choose from. I tend to keep in mind the question of best strategies and balance it with repetition – I try to avoid student boredom by selecting a variety of activities and approaches within each week or unit of study. 

STEP 3: The last step is probably the easiest. I ask myself, “How will I keep them engaged and excited throughout the lesson?” Which, of course, is the third category on the Marzano placemat – those “unplanned, enacted on the spot” things that are really pre-planned and well thought out in most cases. I decide what quick games or thought provoking questions I can sprinkle in or play at the end of class to both keep students engaged and solidify their learning.

And that’s it. If you go through these three steps and use the placement as a guide for selecting strategies you can’t help but to create a well thought out Marzano aligned lesson plan.

Marzano Lesson Planning