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How to Develop Lesson Plans

Instructor: David Raudenbush
A lesson plan is a teacher's guide for communicating a set of skills or knowledge to the students in a class. Good lesson planning follows a research proven structure that assures students the best chance for learning.

Why Plan?

Picture yourself: standing at your classroom door greeting your students as they arrive. The children are little turbo-charged bundles of energy. They are equally capable of learning as they are of creating chaos. Now is not the time to be thinking about what you want to teach today.

You need properly structured lessons to ensure all your students have a chance to learn each day. Even veteran teachers can't improvise that type of lesson very often. Well-structured lessons require advanced planning and a professional's knowledge of how children learn. Fortunately, the abundance of educational research sets out clear guidelines for designing effective lesson plans.

Good teaching begins with a well designed lesson plan
Lesson Planning

The End Comes First

Effective lesson planning begins at the ending. Ask yourself, 'What skills or knowledge do you want your students to have when the class is over?' The answer to that question will provide you two lesson plan elements.

The first is the topic for the lesson. If you're teaching US history, the topic might be the Battles of Lexington and Concord. If you're teaching science, the topic might be covalent bonds. Your curriculum guide and textbooks will help you make the topic decision.

The second element may be the most important in your lesson plan. You need a learning goal or objective that focuses your lesson specifically on what you want your students to know about the topic. For example, suppose you were teaching a grammar unit on nouns. The subject for your lesson might be proper nouns. You want your students to capitalize proper nouns. Proper nouns become the topic for the lesson. The objective for the lesson might be, 'Students will be able to identify and capitalize proper nouns.'

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