Why Design Lessons

Donnetta NorrisBlog, Lesson Plan Better, Teach Happier


  • As an educator, it is important to continue learning and to always work towards improvement.
  • Design Lessons is a podcast to help teachers learn about instructional strategies and design creative learning opportunities for students.

I have been on a journey to improve, expand, and grow as a teacher and a writer.

I believe it’s important to remain current in one’s chosen field. As an educator, I seek opportunities to learn in order to be effective for my scholars. Sometimes that means reading the books. Lately, it has meant listening to a particular podcast.

Design Lessons with Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore is a “must-listen” podcast for educators. Dr. Moore is an instructional coach, as well as a classroom teacher. Her podcast, therefore, helps teachers design creative learning opportunities.

I enjoy listening to Dr. Moore’s podcast for several reasons.

First, Dr. Moore has the smoothest, tranquil speaking voice. Therefore, I listen intently as she speaks. Second, the episodes are just the right length. Since most episodes range from 25 to 45 minutes, they can be enjoyed during the average commute. Last, Dr. Moore targets three specific “touchtones” (mindset and relationships, real-world opportunities, and critical and creative thinking). As a result, she and her guests present practical and relevant classroom strategies.

My favorite is episode 7, “I Am A Teacher Who…3 Steps to Saying Yes to Opportunities That Will Help You Grow.” In this episode, Dr. Schmidt Moore walks listeners through a 3-step strategy for refining their teacher identities. First, teachers define what they stand for. Then, they identify what is important to them. Lastly, listeners provide a plan for growth. Teachers who follow these steps will be well-equipped to “say no to opportunities that don’t align to who they are/what they believe and yes to those that do.” I absolutely love this statement.

As a result of the reflective work required for this strategy, I identified 2 core beliefs about my scholars as learners and what they deserve from me as their teacher.

Then, I created action steps that strategically aligned to my beliefs. With these action steps in mind, I planned what I will do, or stop doing, in the next 3 months as I refine my teacher identity.

Dr. Moore records episodes for your listening pleasure that include strategies for creating confident writers, how to change your mood, reframing your mindset, and building community and trust in the classroom.

For more information about Dr. Michele Schmidt Moore and to listen to the Design Lessons podcast, visit her website at https://www.micheleschmidtmoore.com.

About Donnetta Norris

Donnetta Norris is a 2nd grade teacher in Arlington, TX. She has been an educator for the last 10 years. She enjoys reading professional, children’s, and MG literature. Donnetta loves being in the classroom with her Scholars and is passionate about improving her writing craft as a teacher-writer. She also blogs at TeacherReaderWriter and The Rogue Scholar.