Planning for CI


Planning for CI lessons can feel daunting to teachers who are new to using Comprehensible Input. Using the target language 90% of each lesson in a way that is 100% comprehensible to all students takes skill and practice. The supports and ideas below will help CI teachers understand the basics of planning for a unit, for a week, and for individual daily lessons.

Simplify your Target Language

Simplify your language:

a key to being comprehensible


"Circling" is a high impact instructional move that is the backbone every CI lesson

Read Martina Bex's excellent guide (used by permission)

Find more wonderful resources by Martina on her website:

Semester-at-a-Glance planning & pacing guide

DPS Fall 2020-- make a copy to edit

DPS Spring 2020-- make a copy to edit

Not DPS? not fall 2019? You can update the details to fit your context

Backwards Plan the Unit

Set a goal, then map lessons that lead to that goal. Set a timeframe that allows for formative assessment to see how many students are making progress, and reteaching of material that students demonstrate needing more time and exposure to.

download the 1 page guide

DPS Teachers access here

(must be logged in to DPS google

your ".net" account)

Select the Target Structures

Plan vocabulary you will teach in the target language. Objective, activities, formative assessment in each lesson will focus on these pre-selected target structures.

Download the 1 page guide

DPS Teachers access here

(must be logged in to DSP google, your ".net" account)

Create the Daily Objective (CLO)

The standards-based communicative objective drives the lesson planning and delivery, checks for understanding, and feedback to students. Lesson activities support students to achieve the objective and to see their progress towards language acquisition.

download the 1 page guide

DPS Teachers access here

(must be logged in to DPS google, your ".net" account)

3 steps to a CI lesson

The components of a CI lesson that allow teachers to stay in the Target Language 90% or more of the lesson and still be 100% comprehensible, in all levels.

download the 1 page guide from TPT

DPS teachers access here

(must be logged in to DPS google, your " .net" account)

Sample Weekly Plan

Take a look at a planning template for 5 days of CI lessons that focus on standards-based Novice Mid communicative goals.

access the 5 page document on TPT

(must be logged in to DPS google --your " .net" account)

Sample Slide Deck

Very simple slide deck for a Novice-Low/ Novice-Mid CI lesson

Jillian Rush explains her process for planning in her CI classroom

Lesson Planning Menu

Mix up your planning for your CI /TPRS classroom by selecting something from each section of the menu. Carefully plan out 4-5 activities per 50 min class, or learn to milk one "Main Dish" as long as can while still keeping students interested.

  • Flexible planning tool

  • Sparks creativity and ideas

  • All languages, all levels

  • Especially great for teachers in their first 3 years of CI teaching

Download the 1 page guide

DPS Teaches access here

(must be logged in to DPS google, your ".net" account)

Comprehensible Input only works when it is comprehensible. We only know if it's comprehensible if we check for understanding of ALL our students.

Keep this quick 1 page summary of 50+ checks for understanding activities handy when you are planning to help you incorporate more variety.

  • All languages

  • All levels

CI Planning Narratives

How do CI teachers think about planning? Read about these 3 different styles of how to approach planning and how to start the year using Comprehensible Input teaching methods.

Includes links to 3 different styles of lesson plans

  • Big Picture Thinker who goes with the flow

  • Flexible Planner with a pre-made curriculum

  • Robust Planner who loves to be organized

--> Note that this document was created for teachers in Denver Public Schools, and week 2 of each planning narrative addresses the district testing (Pre-Assessment that DPS teachers use to set their Student Learning Objective / goals for the year). Non-DPS teachers can ignore this, or they may consider giving their own pre-assessments that give baseline data for their own learning goals.

Quick 1 page guide to brain breaks

9 Quick and Simple activities to get the body moving, and the brain thinking