A Versatile, Inclusive and Practical Lesson Plan Design: The Physical Education “VIP” Plan

The following article was written by Pete Charrette and published as a journal article in the Spring 2009 GAHPERD Journal, volume 42, #1. Although the article and lesson plan template is a few years old, it is still relevant today and is being utilized by many educators across the globe. A FREE example and fully editable version of the VIP Physical Education Lesson Plan is available for download at the end of this blog post.

Introduction and Rationale

Practicing physical education teachers are currently using a wide variety of designs and formats to develop their daily lesson plans. Some use planning tools such as generic lesson guides, teaching planners, and web created electronic plans that are clearly developed for other academic areas. Others have learned to create their own type of design, which is better suited to the subject matter and variables that characterize a typical physical education lesson. When shared, these types of “self-created” lesson plan designs can be beneficial to other practicing physical education teachers, giving them ideas and tools for structuring their future lessons.

As an experienced physical education teacher, I too have utilized a number of lesson planning designs and formats. Over the years, many of these designs have fallen short of the mark as a practical guide for my daily lessons. Some of the plans lacked the detail I needed to adequately describe my lessons, while others required too much time to be a sensible answer for my planning needs. My dissatisfaction in the available options for lesson planning facilitated a personal investigation for a better and more sensible method for class preparation. During this search, I sought out solutions from other physical educators and consulted with teachers in additional areas of education. The investigation yielded valuable information that I used to create a practical lesson plan format that I and a number of other physical education teachers in the country are currently utilizing.

Developing the Plan

Developing a comprehensive and practical lesson plan format to be used consistently in a physical education program is not an easy task. Our diverse subject matter, multiple age and skill levels, fluctuating weekly schedules, and numerous instructional situations make structuring a usable plan difficult. In recent years, we have also seen an influx of educational growth and training concepts in our schools such as “Backwards Design”, and “Curriculum Mapping”, which are geared towards the academic classroom. These educational models have now worked their way into the “specialist” teaching areas such as physical education, art and music. With these new concepts and the emergence of the new SHAPE America Standards and GLO’s (Grade Level Outcomes), our administrator’s expectations have changed in the way they view our teaching practices and how we create and present our daily lesson plans. All of the above factors have influenced the creation of the Physical Education VIP Lesson Plan format which is highlighted and available for a FREE download in the Microsoft Word format below.

Beneficial Qualities of the Physical Education VIP Plan

There will never be a perfect planning tool for teaching physical education. However, there are some factors that make using certain lesson plan designs more attractive than others. For a lesson plan format to be valuable for a practicing physical educator, it must have the ability to be versatile, inclusive and practical. The plan should be easy to use, detailed in nature, and it must have the flexibility to be applied in a number of situations. The questions and responses below explore how these qualities are validated using the Physical Education VIP Plan and provide accounts of how the plan can be used for your physical education program.

How is the Physical Education VIP Plan Versatile?

The Physical Education VIP Plan design can be used in a number of ways and for a variety of purposes. Since it is a Microsoft Word document, the titles, text box sizes, text color, headings, and subheadings can easily be modified to fit your style, needs and administrator’s expectations. The number of text boxes provides ample space and flexibility to incorporate a number of educational mandates.

The Physical Education VIP Plan can be used for the following purposes:

As a unit guide: The template can be used to list a general outline of the standards, tasks and assessments that would take place within a single unit of study. This method works well for seeing a 2 or 3 week time period on a single page document. This “big picture” technique helps you clarify what you want your students to achieve by the unit and what tasks and activities will help them reach this goal

As a “grouped” lesson guide: The template can be used to “clump” 2 or more lessons together within a single unit. This type of planning works well when you are unsure of exactly how much you can accomplish within a single class period. It also works well if you have outdoor and indoor activities planned and the weather does not cooperate. Many physical education teachers see their students a set number of times a week which makes “clumping or grouping” lessons in a weekly format a more realistic and optimal method. Provisions can be made to identify how far each class has progressed in their “instructional activities” in the main body of the lesson plan.

As an individual lesson plan: The template can be used for an individual physical education lesson, incorporating a number of designated grade levels. Since many lessons can be taught to more than one grade level, the plan can provide the essential criteria for multiple levels and also identify changes and modifications per grade within the same plan.

As a separate activity or game plan: The template can be slightly altered to include headings such as “game set up and procedures” and “instructions for game play” to provide a single document plan that outlines any of your large group games requiring specific directions for play. This type of plan works well with large group games that may be played within a specified unit or may be “stand alone” games that are used to develop skills and increase the fitness levels of your students between units or at specified times of the school year.

As a special event plan: The template may also be modified to become a general guide for special events that are sponsored by the physical education department at your school such as Jump Rope for Heart, Field Day, Walk-a-thon, Relay for Life, etc.

How is the Physical Education VIP Plan Inclusive?

The Physical Education VIP Plan design is comprehensive and includes a number of text boxes with headings and subheadings that correspond to the physical education planning and structural procedures. The plan incorporates a wide variety of critical lesson plan components which includes the following:

  • Lesson/Unit Title

  • Lesson Plan Writer

  • Grade level(s)

  • Unit Focus

  • Overview and purpose

  • Standards addressed

  • Learning outcomes

  • Differentiation/modification

  • Materials/resources

  • Safety concerns

  • Essential questions

  • Assessment methods

  • Instructional activities

  • Fitness components

  • Movement components

  • Closure items

Although the essential components of a comprehensive plan may differ somewhat from county to county or state to state, the headings listed above correspond with most current fundamental requirements and can easily be adapted to fit any educational needs. Within each text and heading box, a physical education teacher can adequately describe the elements that make up the lesson or lessons. A teacher’s personal style for describing the lesson can include bullet form information, numbered sequential steps, coded information (as in listing standards addressed) and/or paragraph descriptors for instruction. Coded information can be used to address the SHAPE America, state or district standards and the full documents can be attached in a lesson plan book or portfolio.

How is the Physical Education VIP Plan Practical?

The Physical Education VIP lesson plan format has a functional design that places a great deal of pertinent information on a one page document. The ability to see, in detail, the entire lesson, grouped lessons or unit plan makes physical education instruction easier. The informational text boxes within the plan can simply be adjusted to fit the needs of any physical education teacher. There are a number of practical advantages to using the Physical Education VIP Plan that include:

1. The ability to share information with other colleagues, student teachers and administrators using a professional and comprehensive lesson design.

2. The ability to create, save and print lessons as a single page document or grouped together in electronic folders for combined units of study.

3. The ability to reuse and easily adapt the individual plans from year to year or semester to semester.

4. The ability to compile a professional working portfolio using the VIP Plan combined with state and national standards, grading procedures, behavioral plans, student modifications and class roll sheets.

5. The ability to consistently and easily document student assessment in every lesson by utilizing the “Assessment Methods” checklist provided at the bottom of every VIP lesson plan

The Physical Education “VIP” Plan

The example plan below is for “Establishing a Learning Environment." It is a full lesson plan for Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. This is an actual plan I used back in 2016 for the first week of school.

Click this link or the image above to go to my FREE Treasure Page and download this example plan in a PDF format

The blank plan below shows the multicolored VIP Editable Lesson Plan

Click this link or the image above to go to my FREE Treasure Page and download a fully editable VIP Plan in Microsoft Word format.


As professional educators, it is important that we continually strive to improve the methods and practices we implement in our daily classes. Our proficiency in lesson planning has a direct correlation to our ability to provide positive and successful classes for our students. Clearly, there is no perfect format for developing and showcasing our lesson plans. Each of us has a unique teaching situation and our planning methods and needs vastly differ. It is important however, that we decide upon a professional and comprehensive lesson plan design such as the Physical Education VIP Plan if we desire to enhance the credibility of our field and strengthen our individual physical education programs.

The original downloader of the document is granted permission to copy for teaching purposes only. If you are NOT the original person who downloaded, please download the item from my store, website or through this blog post before making any copies. Redistributing, editing, selling, or posting this item or any part thereof on the Internet are strictly prohibited without first gaining permission from the author. Violations are subject to the penalties of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Please contact me (pete.charrette@gmail.com) if you wish to be granted special permission.

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