A lesson plan refers to a guide that outlines what the students need to learn, how it will be taught, and how learning will be evaluated. Before a teacher walks into a classroom, they need to spend some time thinking about the course content in advance. This will help them teach in accordance with the learning trajectory as required by the syllabus. Without a lesson plan, you will not have enough time to teach everything you were supposed to teach that particular lesson.
Benefits of using a lesson plan
Every teacher will tell you that lesson plans differ both in content and structure. Nonetheless, their significance still remains the same. Whether you are teaching online or in person, the following are some benefits you will reap from using a lesson plan:
- Elevate personal confidence-Lesson plans provide you with a layout structure on how you will handle your class. When you know what to address, and at what time, your confidence will grow stronger. Eventually, you will find it easier to keep your learners focused.
- Access your own lesson-Lesson plans also help the teacher to evaluate their teaching methods. If, for example, the teacher realizes poor comprehension level, they can always adjust or change their teaching techniques to make their learners learn more.
- Provides an organized environment-The organization plays a critical role when handling a class. To ensure timeliness, everything needs to be done in a particular manner. A lesson plan helps teachers to work on an outline as they teach or handle a lesson.
- A guide for substitute teacher-As said before, lesson plans keep a record of what you want your students to learn. This makes it easier for another teacher to come in should you be absent. A substitute teacher will therefore find it easy to pick from where you left.
Considerations for a Notable Lesson Plan
Depending on the experience of the teacher, it may seem easy to go on with creating a lesson plan once assigned a class. However, many experts will tell you that there is no need to rush. Your core aim should be to create an objective lesson plan and not just for any other sake.
Therefore, before you even start, here are some useful factors you need to put into consideration:
Know your students
Before you start writing your lesson plan, you need to take some time to know your student’s capabilities at an individual level and not just by their name. Students have varied learning potentials and interest levels. Therefore, knowing their abilities and preference levels is necessary as it will help you tailor a lesson plan that works best for them. For example, there are those students who like visual aids, while some prefer auditory learning. Through this, you can always be able to know how to tackle such diversity.
Things that are needed to be covered
Again, before you go ahead to create your lesson plan, take your time to know what areas need to be covered and which ones have already been done. You can have a conversation with your students to determine their level of knowledge. This will help you know where to pick from and what type of topics to include in your lesson plan.
Best possible ways to teach
Last but not least, you need to know the best teaching technique for your students. Generally, young learners often understand faster when an interactive teaching approach is used. On the other hand, older students comprehend more when slideshows or lecture teaching method is used. Therefore, depending on the type of your student, you can choose the teaching method that you feel will make them get the most out of your lessons.
Making an Effective Lesson Plan
Creating an effective lesson plan is not difficult as many thought it to be. So long as you’ve identified the above-mentioned factors, you are good to go. Here are useful steps that you can follow to create a lesson plan like a pro:
Pinpoint your objectives
The first thing you should note down in your lesson plan is your objectives. Ask yourself what you would want to achieve at the end of each lesson. Make sure each objective you set is realistic and achievable by your students.
For example, if you are teaching about the First World War, your objectives would be:
- To make students understand the cause of the First World War.
- To make the students know the participant nations.
- To make learners know the results of the war, etcetera.
List down the needs of your students
After knowing your objectives, you need to note down the needs of your students. Since students differ in capability and preference, some will need more encouragement than others. It is up to you to know the exact need a student may require to learn your teachings.
Calculate your resources and materials
Next, you need to prepare all the necessary learning materials and resources that you believe will facilitate efficient learning. This many include chalk and chalkboards, rulers, pens, and papers. If you are using digital learning, then you can think of educational websites, laptops, internet access, sources of power, projectors, to mention a few.
Plan to engage your students
Here, you will note down how you plan to keep your students engaged. Remember that if your learners aren’t attached to your teaching, your efforts may as well be futile. If, for instance, you are teaching a tough topic, note down how you will bring the attention of your learners together.
Here are some activities you can do to increase the level of engagement:
- Multiple student interaction patterns: As a teacher, you need to know that some students are highly motivated when grouped together. Therefore, depending on your students, you can pair them up or group them to build off each other. For example, you can pair them and ask them to draw their favorite season.
- Warm-up with simple games: Sometimes, when you walk into a class, it’s not a guarantee that your students are prepared for the lesson. Therefore, as you plan to enter the classroom, you need to at least warm up their brains with simple games. Warming up effectively jumpstarts their minds making them more engaged than ever.
- Give them your objective: Another way to improve student’s engagement is by letting them know your objective what you expect of them at the end of the lesson. This will make them wait eagerly for your prepared contents.
Spare student’s practice time
Once you have taught a new concept, you need to give some room for practice. Practicing is very important as it helps reinforce the concepts taught in class. Basically, there are three common methods of practice you can use.
- Guided practice-is where the teacher takes the students through the taught concepts once again. However, he/she should be observant to let the learners contribute as per their understanding.
- Collaborative practice– requires the teacher to team up the learners in pairs or groups. Each pair/group is then made for sharing what they have learned from the new concepts. If there is any misunderstanding, the groups can always seek clarification from the teacher.
- Independent practice-is the one in which the student is encouraged to practice whatever he or she has learned on her own. Usually, this practice is often recommended after the student has undergone both guided and collaborative practices. To gauge their level of understanding or comprehension, the student should write a short essay of what they have learned so far.
End your lesson by giving your learners a general summary of the concepts taught. Also, you can ask the students to pinpoint any key ideas as a refresher. Last but not least, present them with a preview of what is expected in the next class.
Spare questioning time
Once you are through with your lesson, it’s advisable that you spare some time for questions. Creating question time is very important as it helps students seek for clarifications for issues at hands. Since your class will contain a mix up of different students’ personalities, you will find some not raising their hands despite not understanding concept(s). In such cases, you can give the students topic to discuss and converse among themselves.
Evaluate your lesson
At the end of your lesson plan, you should be able to measure your set objectives. Ask yourself whether your teaching objectives were met and to what scale, say out of 10. Once you have evaluated your lesson, you will know which areas were easily understood and which ones were not. With this information, you can always maximize or revise on areas least understood in your next class.
Creating a lesson plan has never been easy. If you are looking to have one for your class, we have made the whole process easier for you. Simply download our free templates and get going. Our templates are user-friendly and easily customizable to fit your preference.
Professional Tips to Consider
Here are some extra tips you can use to perfect your lesson plan:
Script it out
Sometimes, a teacher may be nervous, especially if he/she is teaching for the first time. If you experience such a problem, don’t shy from scripting out your lessons. This way, you will have somewhere to refer as you teach. As time goes by, the nervousness will suddenly go away.
Over plan it
Having adequate preparation is another important factor you need to consider as you prepare your lesson plan. In as much as you will be aware of what to teach, you need to leave nothing to chance. Make sure you over plan for the lesson. This will not only give you confidence but also courage when handling the class. For example, if your lesson should take 30 minutes, plan to complete it in 25 minutes.
Once you have completed the lesson, you need to have some time to review it once more. While reviewing the lesson, seek to know whether your earlier set plan went as expected. If not, you can devise ways to make your future lessons better. If you find your teaching style not effective, you may consider what to do differently to ensure efficiency.
The state standards
More often, you will find every state or district creating its own education standard to match with the need of the local residents. Since the standard of education varies from region to region, it is important that you teach as per the local district standards and guidelines. If you adhere to the local way of teaching, you will be more relevant in your career.
Make sure you develop a lesson plan that anyone else can understand with ease. That is to say, in case something happens and you can no longer continue with the class, a substitute will always find it easy to pick up. Therefore, the bottom line here is to ensure you use a simple, straightforward and understandable language.
Pro-Tip: As you prepare your lesson plan, it’s important that you leave nothing to chance. This includes creating a teaching backup plan should your original plan backfires.
Dogme teaching method
If you are finding it tough adhering to lesson plans, then you can as well Dogme teaching methods. Here, you will require no teaching books or guides.
Sometimes, the students may have their attentions shifted away from class. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to bring back the learners attention back to your teaching. This is a common scenario especially in lower grade schools.
Provide materials in advance
When you allow your students to preview your lesson content in advance, they get into a better position of learning more. It gives them enough time to do research on the topic and come up with maximum questions for clarity.
While many students may find it challenging to grab all concepts the first time, this shouldn’t be your worry. Some students learn first and others are slow but sure. As you continue with your teaching, you need to set a date where all your learners should be able to respond to your questions.
At some point in the middle of your lesson, you can pose some questions that relate to your topic so that the students can respond. This is a way of testing their attentiveness and engagement.
Introduction of a topic refers to explaining what the topic contains, including all the subtopics and summary. Presentation of a topic refers to the teaching methods that will be used to disseminate the topic.
Anticipatory set simply means getting learners interested in learning.
No. there are numerous ways of formatting your lesson plan. If your school has a specific method, you need to stick by that. Otherwise, feel free to use your own formatting method.
Lesson plans are essential for effective teaching. They not only help the teacher to prepare for the course content but also makes them understand their student’s capability and learning preference. Also, creating a lesson plan ensures you have an objective mind when you walk inside a class. Therefore, it is recommended that every teacher create an effective lesson plan should they want to be relevant in their teaching.