High School Lesson Plan Template

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a high school teacher, you may be looking for ways to revamp your planning technique. This lesson gives you a template for lesson plans across the subject areas.

The Importance of Planning

You might be wondering why it is important for you as a high school teacher to follow a specific template when you plan your lessons. The truth is, there are a lot of different ways to plan and a lot of lesson styles that work for different teachers and students. However, regardless of your teaching style and philosophy, having some sort of underlying framework that structures your teaching will make you more organized and better able to focus on the students in front of you. Having a plan helps you see the purpose of each instructional move you make and assess what is and is not working in the classroom. Lesson plans can also be helpful documents for you to have when you reflect on your practice with colleagues and administrators or when you talk with parents about your curriculum.

The template provided here is by no means the only way to plan a lesson for high school students, but it covers the aspects of lesson planning that are important regardless of context. The exact plan you make will vary depending on the age and type of students you are teaching and also, of course, on your subject area. You can modify this template to meet your own needs as a teacher.

Goals and Objectives

A strong lesson plan for high school students begins with an overarching, conceptual goal and a list of 2-4 objectives for a lesson. Try to state your goals and objectives as clearly as possible. If you cannot clearly describe your goal and objectives, chances are strong that your students will not understand what you are teaching them. Articulating your goal first will enable you to plan backward, orienting the rest of your lesson toward the achievement of your goal and objectives.


Make a comprehensive list of all the materials you will need to have on hand for this lesson. This might include only books and notebooks, or it might include laboratory supplies. Try not to make a list of materials so complex that you will have a hard time managing it. As you think through the materials, ask yourself whether students are already comfortable with these materials or whether you will need to devote a portion of the lesson to familiarizing them with the tools you expect them to use.


Direct Teaching

Next, it is time to plan any direct teaching you will do at the beginning of the lesson. Think about exactly what you want to communicate to your students, and determine how much of the learning you want them to do in this lesson will come directly from you. You may want to write out exactly what you want to say, or you may choose to write bullet points to get at the main ideas you want to get across. This is also a good time to remind students of what they did in the previous lesson and explain how you will be building on that work.

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