Professional Advice & Lesson Plans

Planning is the key to successful teaching, especially for the beginning teacher. In order to plan effectively, ask the following three questions:

  1. Where are your students going?
  2. How will they get there?
  3. How will you know they have arrived?
It is good teaching practice to carefully plan your day in advance. Your plan should be written before you leave the school. If you require a substitute, your plan will serve as a guide, thus avoiding wasted learning opportunities if you have to be away from your class.

Your daily plan should include:

  • Objectives
  • Subject matter
  • Strategies
  • Evaluation
  • Materials to be used
Successful Lessons

Well-planned lessons have the following characteristics:

  • Get and hold student attention
  • Focus student attention when beginning the lesson
  • Move at a good pace
  • Allow for monitoring of teaching and for student understanding
  • Provide for different learning styles
  • Have variety and are interesting
  • Include meaningful assignments
  • Contain the ingredients for success
  • Provide opportunities for student choices about their learning
    (Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, 1997)
Stages of Effective Lesson Plans

Planning can be organized into seven basic stages.

1. Goals - purpose, aim and rationale.
a. What are the broader goals of the plan, curriculum?
b. What are your goals?
c. What do you expect students to be able to do at the unit's end?
 
2. Objectives - what students do to get further knowledge
a. What will students be able to do during this lesson?
b. What criteria will be used to judge the students' achievements?
c. How will students demonstrate mastery of the objectives?
 
3. Prerequisites - readiness of students for new concept
a. What must students be able to do before this class?
b. What concepts must the students have already mastered?
 
4. Materials - books, equipment, classroom and community resources
a. What materials are needed?
b. What texts or other books are required?
c. What needs to be prepared in advance?
d. How is the material going to be stored between classes?
e. How will the finished work be displayed?
 
5. Lesson description - overview of lesson in terms of topic focus activities and purpose
a. What is unique about this lesson?
b. How did your students like it? c. What level of learning is covered in this lesson?
 
6. Lesson Procedure - step by step description of lesson including an introduction, main activity and closure.
Introduction
a. How will you introduce the ideas and objectives of the lesson? Ways to begin a lesson include:
  • Reviewing the previous lesson
  • Giving directions
  • Giving an overview of what is going to happen
  • Telling the students the main learning objective of the lesson.
    b. How will you get and keep the attention of your students? Some ways to motivate your students are:
  • Telling a story
  • Asking a question
  • Showing pictures
  • Role playing
  • Showing an object
  • Playing a guessing game
  • Including students' ideas, names, and positive traits.
  • Reading a quote
  • Demonstrating something interesting or mysterious
  • Using cartoons, jokes, humour.
    c. How can you tie objectives to student interests, backgrounds and previous learning?
    d. What will be expected of students?
    Main Activity
    a. What is the focus of the lesson?
    b. How would you describe the pacing of the lesson to another teacher?
    c. How can this material be presented to each student to meet individual needs?
    Closure
    a. What will you use to draw the ideas together for students?
  • Summarizing the main ideas of the lesson
  • Asking summarizing questions
  • Provide related follow-up work
    b. How will you provide feedback to students?
    Follow-up
    a. What activities can be used for enrichment and remediation?
    b. How do you link this lesson to other concepts in the unit?
     
    7. Assessment - evidence that students learned the lesson concepts
    d. How will you evaluate the objectives that were identified?
    e. Have the students been given the opportunity to practice what you are assessing them on?
  • Short-term planning
    Initially, your planning should be very detailed. Each unit plan should include the content and process or product objective. Individual lessons, as part of the whole unit, are designed to increase knowledge and skills based on previously learned concepts. This way you will provide your students with the learning opportunities they need, and gaps and needless repetition is avoided. Long-range planning
    In order for your students to achieve success and for you to fulfill your professional responsibilities, your plans must include the curriculum requirements set out by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and your Divisional Education Council. As a beginning teacher, you will find the curriculum guides of great assistance, so follow them closely. Your planning should include:
    • Objectives for the course o Strategies to reach those objectives
    • Evaluation methods to be used
    • Resources required
    • Time to be allocated
      (The Alberta Teachers' Association)

     

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