Some of the best teachers in the world were not born with one-of-a-kind teaching skills; they just mastered the art of creating and using effective lesson plans.
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A lesson plan is a teacher’s summarized description of any given subject, which he or she has a license to teach. Although some schools may provide mandatory requirements when creating a lesson plan, an effective lesson plan (regardless of level/grade) must reflect the needs and interests of students and incorporate the best teaching practices. This article explains the benefits of creating a lesson plan and a quick, 8-step guide on how to make an effective lesson plan.
Benefits of Lesson Plans
Full-time teachers educate students from Monday to Friday, some even assigned to multiple classes. Planning lessons in advance provide teachers enough time to think the subject through, create goals and assignments, check if the lessons pass school and state standards, remind the teacher key points during a given class, provide teachers with a written record of lessons completed, and supply future teachers with materials.
Schools usually provide teachers course descriptions to follow by the start of each school year. Regardless of the subject and age of students, planning lessons ahead helps teachers ensure all topics in a course are covered throughout the year.
Although lesson plans come in various subjects and formats, all of them involve identical elements, which may include the following: lesson title/subject, time required to teach the lesson, materials required, objectives of the lesson, method of lesson introduction (or called “set”), instructional/educational lecture, summary, evaluation through assignments or quizzes, and analysis of the lesson to determine effectiveness or changes to be made.
Learn How to Make a Lesson Plan in 8 Easy Steps
1) The Basics – Developing a lesson plan starts with the subject title, amount of time needed in teaching the lesson and materials to be used. When you start making a lesson plan, you should have a clear idea what the lesson would involve. The easiest way to decide on a topic is to follow the school’s course as a guide. Remember that everything you include in the lesson plan should be based on state standards. This is particularly important because all lesson plans you develop that are aligned correctly with state standards prove your credibility as a teacher and ensure students are taught according to what the state requires.
2) Objectives – Each lesson plan must identify specific goals and objectives of what you want the students to learn after a lesson. Depending on the subject on hand, you should have an idea of what students would accomplish with the lesson and how you would determine effectiveness of the lesson. Would you require an assignment, quiz, group work, hands-on practice, experiment, worksheet or other means to be able to learn exactly how your students understood the lesson? Should the students pass at least 70% of a quiz for you to deem the lesson plan satisfactory?
3) Introduction – Also known as the “anticipation set,” the introduction is needed to get the attention of the students and hook their eyes and ears on the teacher. This depends largely on the subject, but the anticipatory set may include a picture, video, movie, dramatic presentation, poem, and other techniques to “set the stage” of your lesson. Most teachers use examples of day-to-day subjects, such using pizza to discuss fractions, or artwork to discuss painting techniques. The best way to introduce students with the current lesson is to provide them with a kid-friendly example. The most popular anticipated set used by teachers is the question-and-answer because it promotes an interactive discussion.
4) Instruction – Once you’ve caught the attention of the students through your anticipation set, it is now time to present the actual concepts of your subject. Direct instruction includes methods such as discussions, hands-on experiments, presentations, and question-and-answer portions. Regardless of subject, teachers should show enthusiasm about the lesson, so the students would follow. Make the discussion as enjoyable as possible, so that you keep their attention until the lecture ends. Sometimes, visual aids and props can do the trick, while providing them with a more descriptive way to understand even the most serious subjects. When planning this step, make sure you think about how to encourage student participation.
5) Practice – To determine if students understood the lesson, teachers guide students on how to apply the subjects learned. This can be done through group work, experiments, worksheets, illustration, and other assignments. During this step, the teacher observes how well the students mastered the materials taught and corrects mistakes done during the activities.
6) Wrap Up/Closure – Before the bill rings, it is important for a teacher to summarize the lessons discussed. This helps students organize and remember everything they learned that day. It also gives the teacher a chance to see how well students have understood the subject and give more insight discussing the important of the lesson.
7) Demonstration – To encourage independent learning, teachers provide homework assignments, group projects, or other methods to allow students to internalize the information they just learned in their own way. Assignments are also given to help teachers assess student learning and improve future lesson plans.
8) Assessment – How do you gauge the learning of your students? Quizzes, exams, worksheets, experiments and other concrete ways can help teachers assess learning objectives. Did your students reach the passing percentage you set on your goals? If not, analyze what went wrong and determine how you could improve the lesson plan.
Creating lesson plans not only benefit students, but the teacher as well. Since education can only succeed if both the student and teacher work to attain higher educational achievements, it is the teacher’s job to make sure each lesson is effectively developed. With this 8-step guide, teachers can ensure educational standards are met and that his/her students learn only the best.
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