How To Write a Lesson Plan

When you first start teaching, lesson planning can be overwhelming. There is no book outlining what concepts to teach on each day and how to accommodate the different needs of your students in each lesson. That's all up to you! If you are struggling to write a lesson plan, follow this guide.

Step 1

Determine what you want students to learn. When you write a lesson plan, you kind of need to work backwards. As a teacher, you always need to be thinking about what you want the student to learn, and then you need to create a lesson plan to help teach that concept. Your curriculum documents will clearly outline the information that students at each grade need to understand by the end of the school year. But it's up to you to decide when in the school year to teach each concept. After some careful long-range planning and some great unit overviews, you should have a good idea of what each lesson will need to address. Determine the concept you want to get across, and then move on to the lesson planning.

Step 2

Decide on a ‘hook'. Students these days will be captivated if you can draw them in with a powerful ‘hook'. Do something amazing at the beginning of your lesson, or even blurt out a crazy fact that is in any way related to the concept you're later going to teach. If kids are interested, your upcoming lesson that you planned will be more successful. Write out a few notes on a great hook (and spend no more than 2 - 5 minutes on a hook.)

Step 3

Draw on past learned information. Each lesson that you deliver to your students needs to be linked to the students' prior knowledge. For this reason, you should follow your hook with a little bit of review. Get the gears rolling again and remind students of what they already know. Doing this will also give students the confidence to absorb the information in your lesson plan, since it is closely linked to something they already know. Allot 5 - 10 minutes for review.

Step 4

Present the new information. The next step of creating a great lesson plan is delivering the new concepts to the students. This should come in a few stages. First, present students with the new information and just have them observe you. Then, restate your information and leave a little bit of the concept out to see if the students remembered anything about what you just said. Next, throw up a practice question or exercise and have students volunteer to solve the problem together as a class. Finally, have the students work independently to solve a problem related to the new concepts learned, and take up the problem as a class, discussing the new knowledge all the while. This whole process is called ‘scaffolding'. It gradually takes the students from being observers of a concept to trying it independently. This is integral to any great lesson plan. Allot as much time as you need to successfully get your concepts across by scaffolding. And don't rush it: if you've only planned 10 minutes for new concepts but the class is taking 20 minutes to understand it, that's fine. Your ultimate goal is understanding, and you can never perfectly gauge when that understanding will come.

Step 5

Assign exercises and homework. Once you have successfully delivered your lesson plan, it's time to let the students work on the problems independently. Write the assignment on the board and let students know when it is due. You'll know the next day whether your lesson plan helped students to gain new knowledge. If it did, then you're fine to move on to a new concept. If students are still struggling, it's okay to take a day for review and re-teaching, if necessary.

There's no perfect way to write a lesson plan. But this guide is a pretty average approach. Make sure you write down how long you expect to spend on each phase of the lesson. As well, any students with special needs or learning disabilities will need to have certain lesson plans altered so that every student can understand your lesson plan in his or her own way and at his or her own pace.


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