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LESSON PLANS THE EASY WAY


Dr. Sandra Kizlik

This section is intended for preservice or beginning teachers.

Curriculum pencil1.gif (1229 bytes) Units pencil1.gif (1229 bytes) Lesson Plans

 

"There's always more than one way to do anything." The following ideas, information, and example of lesson planning illustrate the point.


School curriculum (what is intended that students learn) is usually structured in units. The units can have themes or not, but they include many topics that are united by a common thread. These units, which may involve work for days or weeks, are subdivided into daily lesson plans.

Lesson plans are written by teachers to help them structure the learning for themselves and for the students.

Research indicates that all students benefit from, and appreciate well-structured lessons.

All lessons are based on curriculum; that is, what is intended that students learn. Sometimes the curriculum reflects intended learning outcomes that are processes, like learning to research a topic, or learning long division. Sometimes the curriculum reflects learning outcomes relating to memorizing information, such as the multiplication tables, or the conditions that make a desert. Sometimes the curriculum outcomes are about creating a basis for judgments, like the qualities of being a good pet owner. Sometimes the curriculum outcomes relate to applying knowledge, like writing essays, or analyzing and solving problems, or analyzing economic relationships.


Daily Lesson Plans

Purpose

Lesson plans are not written for teachers to read to the class. They are used to structure the lesson and to help with the flow of the class, especially when something has occurred to distract everyone, including the teacher.

Thinking Parts

Lesson plans are first of all a thinking process. This thinking process basically is completed in four parts.

First, determine the curriculum; that is, what the children will learn, what they will be able to do upon completing the activities or work of the lesson.

Second, determine what the students already know, before beginning the lesson, that can lead into the new curriculum of the day.

Third, determine at least one way to assist the students in learning the new curriculum.

Fourth, determine at least one way to evaluate the learning outcomes of the students.

Written Format

There are many different formats that can be used to write daily lesson plans. Formats that are most useful are very simple to follow and are well structured. An outline format can be used very easily during class for quick references by the teacher. It can be followed and accessed very quickly by the teacher in case there is a distraction or in case the teacher loses his/her) train of thought.

The following is one type of outline format for writing daily lesson plans.

First, write the student academic behavioral learning objective based on the thinking parts above (especially the first and fourth steps; that is, what the students will be able to DO upon completing the lesson, and what student academic knowledge will be evaluated as a result).

Second, follow steps A, B, and C as follows.

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A: What the students enter the lesson already knowing (prerequisites)

Review any prerequisite knowledge that will lead easily into the new curriculum.

B: Core lesson (what the teacher and the students do)

Be sure to include the exact examples, problems, projects, or activities that will be used.

C: The NEW curriculum that the students exit the lesson knowing (objective of the lesson)

Review and stress again all of the most important points of the core lesson.

Note: The thinking parts involve thinking about A, B, and C above in this order. First determine C, then determine A (pretest if necessary), and finally determine and develop B.

EXAMPLE OF THE ENTIRE PROCESS

Lesson topic and situation: Teaching addition to kindergarten students for the first time.

Thinking Parts

First, determine the curriculum; that is, what the children will learn, what they will be able to do upon completing the activities or work of the lesson.

Students will add for the first time. Since this is in kindergarten and the first time that they have added, the process will be limited somewhat. They will add only two numbers, and the answers to the problems (the sums) will be less than 10.

Second, determine what the students already know, before beginning the lesson, that can lead into the new curriculum of the day.

The students know various patterning techniques, geometric shapes, ordinal numbers, etc... However, because the lesson will be adding for the first time and adding is actually counting then the lesson will begin by reviewing what they already know about counting. This will lead very smoothly into adding. Beginning the lesson with any other topic, such as, geometric shapes or ordinal numbers, would NOT lead smoothly into addition.

Third, determine at least one way to assist the students in learning the new curriculum.

Since this is the very first lesson on addition, the process of "putting together and counting" will be stressed. Therefore, manipulatives (cubes this time) will be used by the students to count, put together, and count again.

Fourth, determine at least one way to evaluate the learning outcomes of the students.

Students will have their own paper, pencils, and cubes to use for completing problems that are given. Teacher observation of the process and accuracy of answers will be used to evaluate student progress.

Written Format

Student Academic Behavioral Learning Objective (what the students will be able to do upon completing the lesson):

The students will use manipulatives to add two single-digit numbers whose sum is less than ten.

A: What the students enter the lesson already knowing (prerequisites)

Stress counting number values up to 10.
Display 4 cubes on the overhead.
Ask "How many?"
Write the number on the overhead just above the cubes.
Repeat and discuss the answer.
Follow the same steps putting these number of cubes on the overhead: 7, 3, 9, 8.
Make sure each student has a group of 12 cubes that are the same color.
Make sure each student has a counting mat.
Direct students to watch the overhead and to put the indicated number of cubes on their counting mats when told to do so.
Write these numbers on the overhead, one at a time: 5, 9, 1, 6
Direct students to put that number of cubes on their counting mats.
Between writing each of these numbers: circulate around the room, assist students, evaluate student progress and accuracy, and then direct students to clear their counting mats.

B: Core lesson (what the teacher and the students do)

Direct students to turn their counting mats over.
Point out the three circles on this side.
Introduce "We are going to count some more, but just a little differently. Listen carefully and follow my directions exactly."

BEGIN DIRECTION/QUESTION CYCLE FOR ADDING

"Write the number 4 above the first circle. Put 4 cubes in the first circle and leave them there. (Pause to give the students time to follow the directions.)
Write the number 2 above the second circle. Put 2 cubes in the second circle and leave them there. (Pause again for the students.)
Now, listen carefully. (Pause for attention.)
Push all of the cubes over and into the last circle and leave them there. (Pause again and wait for them to finish.)
Now, count the number of the cubes altogether in the last circle.
How many cubes are there?"
Call on a student. Get an answer. Have the students write the correct answer above the last circle. Discuss the answer and the process.
"When we put groups (or sets) of items together and count them altogether we are adding. This is the symbol that people use to mean add +. (Write the symbol and the word add on the overhead.)"
"Now clear all the cubes off of your mats. (Pause)
Watch the overhead and follow my directions again."

END DIRECTION/QUESTION CYCLE FOR ADDING

Give the same directions/questions as above in the DIRECTION/QUESTION CYCLE FOR ADDING, but use these problems: 6 + 3 = , 2 + 3 = , 1 + 7 = , and 4 + 4 =.
Direct students to their practice problems.
Read the directions with them.
Allow them to use the cubes to do the problems.
Do the first problem together with them.
Circulate and assist while they complete the rest of the five problems.

C: The NEW curriculum that the students exit the lesson knowing (objective of the lesson)

Review the definition of adding: "putting groups together and counting."
Review the symbol for adding, +.
Stress "the answer is usually more than the numbers that are added."
For example, 3 + 1 = 4, and 4 is more than either 3 or 1, and 2 + 6 = 8, and 8 is more than either 2 or 6.


Summary

Lesson plans can include much more than indicated here. For example, materials needed, assessments, evaluation procedures, etc.

The information given here is meant to be the quick and efficient, but highly effective way to develop daily lesson plans. Notice that the thinking and mental structuring parts of lesson plans are completed before the written format is begun.

It is very important that the exact examples needed are actually written in the lesson plan. This is important for several reasons. Poorly selected examples and nonexamples that are given to students can be confusing, and can actually lead students to false conclusions that the teacher never intended. For example, if the lesson plan given above had only these types of examples and problems for the students to do 4 + 1 =, 7 + 1 =, 5 + 1 =, etc., then some students would conclude that it is only possible to add 1 and no other number!

Remember to always write the exact examples and nonexamples in the lesson plan. This avoids giving students very poor examples by poor planning, and gives the teacher a quick reference whenever he(she) loses her place or train of thought of any reason.

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