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7 Tips for Writing a Lesson Plan for Back to School
It’s that time again: time for teachers to write lesson plans for the first days of a new school year. In order to ensure that you address the needs of all your students, it is essential to write lesson plans that are strategically designed to incorporate state standards, include solid objectives, and fully engage your students in objective-based learning.
Here are seven tips to help you write an effective and comprehensive lesson plan:
- Incorporate state standards relevant to the subject you teach. This is an important first consideration upon which you can build the remaining components of your lesson plan. Melissa Kelly, an experienced traditional and online class educator, emphasizes that you should know the requirements of your district and/or state, and how they apply to your particular students based on age and grade level.
- Design clear, dynamic objectives. Define what you want your students to learn throughout, and as a result of, the lesson. Objectives should encompass state standards and include active rather than passive verbs that describe actions students must take. For example, this list of tips begins with an active verb giving direction. Objectives typically include a phrase such as, “By the end of this lesson, the student will…” followed by the objective. For example, “By the end of this lesson, the student will identify the parts of speech.” The staff at Education Oasis provides an excellent resource explaining how to write dynamic objectives, and includes a list of action verbs.
- Create learning activities based on the objectives. Help your students reach the desired learning outcomes by creating relevant learning activities. As experienced educator, Dr. Bob Kizlik emphasizes, learning activities must both integrate the objectives and engage the students. For instance, in the previous example about identifying the parts of speech, you might include a series of activities in which you first teach the parts of speech, and then implement matching games, flashcards, or sentence diagramming, depending on the age and grade level of your students.
- Gather materials and arrange accompanying enrichment opportunities. If your lesson plan involves learning activities that require supplemental materials (such as flashcards or interactive games), make sure you gather them ahead of time. Also, if you plan to include enrichment opportunities such as a field trip or a guest speaker to address the class, make those arrangements and secure dates and times. Dr. Kizlik cautions teachers, however, not to overdo it—only implement what is necessary to effectively cover the objective, not be an extraneous “busy work” activity.
- Choose the best delivery method for your lesson plan. Decide whether your lesson plan would be best suited to delivery via lecture, handouts, PowerPoint presentation, interactive game, flipchart, or other method. Then do what is necessary to prepare the lesson in that mode. Kelly also suggested that you combine methods to address different learning styles, such as a lecture combined with a group discussion or an interactive learning activity.
- Determine how to evaluate learning and progress. All lesson plans should include a way to assess learning; you want to measure how well your students meet objectives and how far they progress toward learning outcomes. Dr. Kizlik suggests setting milestones to help you determine how well students progress toward the objectives, as well as to indicate where you may need to make changes to improve the lesson’s effectiveness. Design your evaluation method to best measure learning relative to your particular lesson plan.
- Use a template to create your lesson plan (optional).
Summary of Lesson Plan Tips
Let’s summarize: seven tips for writing lesson plans include (1) incorporate state standards; (2) design clear objectives; (3) create objective-based learning activities; (4) gather materials and arrange supplemental learning opportunities; (5) choose best delivery method; (6) determine your method of assessment; and (7) use a template for your lesson plan, if you choose to do so.
If you incorporate these tips, you should find it a bit easier to create effective lesson plans. Good luck in the upcoming school year!