Preparing Lesson Plans

When you talk to any teacher, whether they have been teaching for two months or 20 years, they'll likely tell you that one of their least favorite tasks as a teacher is creating lesson plans.

However, a well-thought out and executed lesson plan is the backbone of every teacher's arsenal in the battle of getting kids to learn. Being able to put together a good lesson plan is one skill that all teachers should work to improve, as it will simplify their daily lives and make teaching easier.

What Is a Lesson?

A lesson is a group of activities that covers a portion of your course. The lesson can take 20 minutes or several hours, depending on the material.

Who is the Lesson For?

Before moving to the lesson itself, you must identify your audience, by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who is the student?
  • What knowledge do they already have?
  • Why should they learn this lesson?
  • What do I want the students to learn during this lesson?
  • What can the students do themselves to learn it?

Keep these questions and the answers in your mind as you move through the lesson plan.

Lesson Plan Checklist

As you move through the stages of your lesson plan, this checklist will keep you focused on the goals of each lesson and ensure that nothing is overlooked:

At the start of the lesson:

  • Bridge the previous lesson (or a current event) to the lesson to capture the student's interest
  • Establish the learning outcomes
  • Explain student expectations and prior learning

In the center of the lesson:

  • Actively involve students in the learning process
  • Use various media to explain lesson concepts
  • Keep the lesson flowing from one concept to the next
  • Keep the lesson content meaningful
  • Give opportunities for the students to give feedback and practice the new concept
  • Review the material covered and build the lesson on top of it

At the end of the lesson:

  • Assess the material that the students have now learned
  • Summarize the lesson and content covered
  • Establish a connection between the lesson and the real world, or the following lesson.

How Is Content Presented?

There are many different ways to get your lessons' content across. Generally you want to use a few different methods in order to keep a class interesting (if you go with the two-hour lecture mode you may find your students losing interest after the first 15 minutes). The types of methods you use depend on you, your students, and what type of material you are covering. Here are some methods you can use for various types of teaching:

  • To present information:
    • Lecture
    • Interviews
    • Case studies
    • Demonstrations
    • Selective reading
    • Discussion groups
  • To involve students:
    • Field trip
    • Open discussion
    • Role playing
    • Group work
  • To teach a new skill:
    • Demonstration
    • Lab work
    • Practice (with feedback)
    • Guided experience
  • To reinforce the lesson:
    • Memory aids
    • Written assignment
    • Practice (with feedback)
    • Drill

As long as your lesson is presented properly, with changes in materials and types of presentation, you should be able to keep your class interested and make the content relevant to them.

Remember that lesson plans need to keep your students' experience and background in mind. It's a good idea to revisit your lesson plans periodically to see if they are still effective, or to revise them so they're more relevant to your current students.

For more online resources on preparing lesson plans, visit:


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