Lesson Plan Essentials

What are the most important things to think about for a lesson plan (what should you make sure NOT to forget to think about)?


4 Responses to Lesson Plan Essentials

  1. Karl Mason says:

    What do you expect the students to learn by the end of the lesson.

    What questions will you ask to see if deeper learning has gone on – Bloom’s Taxonomy is great for this.

    How will you enable the pupils that don’t understand it the first time to access the work?

  2. MBP says:

    That’s good stuff, Karl. I don’t give enough explicit thought on how I’m going to assess student learning in the course of a lesson. I usually assume that they’ll either be a vocal anarchy or that I’ll be able to notice when kiddies can’t do the practice work. Actually, I still kinda think that, but questions to check for understanding are good.

    Here’s my list of essentials:
    1. What students need to know how to do at the end of the period.
    2. What makes this content hard, or what common preconceptions students are bringing.
    3. A plan for addressing these hard parts, either through lecturing, questioning, inquiry, or problem solving. I also bring a willingness to scrap the plan at signs of trouble.

  3. -Objective for the day – what are the things students should be able to do by the end of the period. Something tangible; measurable. The students should know this objective too.
    -Plan to assess for this objective throughout the lesson – structured notes with practice problems, slates, an exit ticket, partner activities. Think of the types of questions students should be able to answer by the end of the lesson, then find a way to ask those questions
    -Once I have the end figured out, I think of how I can bridge the gap between where they are and where I’ve decided they need to be. I do a lot of lesson planning by preparing scaffolded questions – what’re questions they should be able to answer based on prior knowledge, what’re questions that push them a little further in the direction I want them to go and motivates the content I’m about to teach (or that they’ll discover on their own), and what’s an interesting question I can leave as a cliffhanger for tomorrow.
    -If I’m trying something different in terms of classroom structure and routine (working in groups for the first time, writing an exit ticket for the first time), I need give extra time for students to get used to the new structure. This is the thing I usually forget the most, especially if I decide to try something new in the middle of a semester.

    My greatest frustrations occur when I either haven’t planned enough structure into my lessons (this is what you write down, this is the problem you’re solving, this is the objective for the day) or when I haven’t done enough formative assessments and discover the next day that nobody is where I think they should be.

  4. MBP says:

    It’s worth noting that lesson planning is often going to be rushed and rash. At the very least, this is what it was like for my first year in the classroom (we’ll see how my second year goes). Of course, this depends on how many preps you have, and how much experience you have before you get started. And, no doubt, I got better at juggling things as the year went on, but I also got a better sense for “levels” of lesson planning. Here’s what I mean by “levels”:

    Level 0: Come in totally unprepared. This didn’t happen after my first week.
    Level 1: Come in with just a worksheet and an objective. This is bad — I never want to do this.
    Level 2: Come in with just an objective, practice problems, a hook, and an awareness of stumbling points. Me/Us/You structure. This is sub-optimal, but it was my day-to-day for most of the year.
    Level 3: Come in with everything from level 2, plus a script of questions.
    Level 4: Everything from Level 3, plus an activity (this happened, I dunno, a dozen times).

    This year I’d like to move my day-to-day to Level 3, and have Level 4 happen more frequently.

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