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Lesson Planning, Lesson Plan Formats and Lesson Plan Ideas

Dr. Bob Kizlik

October 8, 2014

Lesson planning...who needs it, or needs to know how to do it? Just a hunch, but since you are, well, here, maybe, just maybe, you do! Having the skill to plan lessons really does help you to "own" the subjects you are teaching or will be teaching. Make no mistake though, the first thing you have to  realize is that the fundamental skill required is that of planning. If you have reached adulthood, you have surely planned events, trips, parties, and so on. Well, lesson planning uses those same skills, except the objective is the learning of your students in a very specific way and under very specific conditions. The process of lesson planning always results in a physical object -- a lesson plan. It may be a sheet of paper or a digital computer file, but there is always a visible dimension to any lesson plan. The real trick is to engage in planning that results in an effective lesson plan that by definition is clear, unambiguous, and communicates clearly what is supposed to take place in terms of reaching a specific objective with your students. So, with that said, let's get started.

Lesson planning is a special skill that is learned in much the same way as other skills. It is one thing to surf the Net to retrieve lesson plans from other sites and adapt them to your needs. It is quite another thing to have the skill to develop your own lesson plans. When you are able to create your own lesson plans, it means you have taken a giant step toward "owning" the content you teach and the methods you use, and that is a good thing. Acquiring this skill is far more valuable than being able to use lesson plans developed by others. It takes thinking and practice to hone this skill, and it won't happen overnight, but it is a skill that will help to define you as a teacher. Knowing "how to" is far more important than knowing "about" when it comes to lesson plans, and is one of the important markers along the way to becoming a professional teacher. It is also in keeping with a central theme of this site that you should learn to plan lessons in more than one way. The corollary is, of course, that there is no one "best way" to plan lessons. Regardless of the form or template, there are fundamental components of all lesson plans that you should learn to write, revise, and improve. The old adage, "Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect" is at the core of learning this skill. Trust me on this.

This is among the most popular pages on the ADPRIMA web site, and for good reason. Good lesson plans do not ensure students will learn what is intended, but they certainly contribute to it. Think of a lesson plan as a way of communicating, and without doubt, effective communication skills are fundamental to all teaching. Lesson plans also help new or inexperienced teachers organize content, materials, and methods. When you are learning the craft of teaching, organizing your subject-matter content via lesson plans is fundamental. Like most skills, you'll get better at it the more you do it and think of ways of improving your planning and teaching based on feedback from your students, their parents, and other teachers. Developing your own lesson plans also helps you "own" the subject matter content you are teaching, and that is central to everything good teachers do.

It's simple; effective lesson plans communicate, ineffective ones don't. Teachers create lesson plans to communicate their instructional activities regarding specific subject-matter. Almost all lesson plans developed by teachers contain student learning objectives, instructional procedures, the required materials, and some written description of how the students will be evaluated. Many experienced teachers often reduce lesson plans to a mental map or short outline. New teachers, however, usually find detailed lesson plans to be indispensable. Learn to write good lesson plans - it is a skill that will serve you well as a teacher. If you're really serious, become proficient in writing effective learning objectives. All lesson plans begin, or should begin with an objective. Toward that end, I have developed a self-instructional, interactive program that teaches this important skill within the context of lesson planning. Go to this link to find out more:http://www.adprima.com/wlo5.htm It is inexpensive and effective! 

For those of you visiting the ADPRIMA web site in search of lesson plans, you will find some links here that point to some of the best anywhere on the Internet.

ADPRIMA Help on Learning to Write Lesson Plans


Mistakes in writing lesson plans and how to avoid them Do it! Nip your problems in the bud!
Lesson Planning: Teaching Questions A set of questions that will help you provide a more effective and meaningful learning experience for your students.
Lesson Plans the Easy Way! A different take on writing lesson plans.
How to Write Behavioral  Learning Objectives This is about how to express instructional intent in behavioral form.
Rationale for Behavioral Learning Objectives. A little background on behavioral objectives can deepen your understanding.
Measurement, Assessment, Evaluation A brief explanation of these three terms that might be helpful.
Verbs for Behavioral Objectives Using the correct verb makes a big difference.
How to Write an Assessment Based on an Objective Some thoughts about this often difficult, confusing, yet integral part of lesson planning.
Examples of Behavioral Verbs See how the verbs are used in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
Student Lesson Plans A nascent collection of student-written lesson plans submitted to the ADPRIMA site. Social Studies, Science, Mathematics.

Helpful Stuff from ADPRIMA on Teaching and Learning


Why I Chose Education as a Career Statement This dreaded statement is presented. Use it, change it.
Quickies on What Works in Teaching A page of really good, practical information.
Thinking Skills Outline A useful outline of terminology that pertains to thinking skills.
Tips on Becoming a Teacher A useful little checklist that gives you some clues about becoming a teacher.
Classroom Management and Management of Student Conduct Some practical ideas for new teacher on this problem area.
Ability and Instructional Grouping Information You might find this to be interesting, because like it or not, when you become a teacher, you will group students in some way.
Direct Teaching A page of useful information and links.
Teaching Position Links Some good sources of teacher position openings.
Concept to Classroom. I like what I found here. A great mix of the theoretical and practical. It is a different point of view that will broaden and deepen your understanding of constructivist teaching and learning.

Lesson Plans and Information on the Internet

The Internet has many thousands of lesson plans available to anyone. Probably hundreds, if not thousands, are added daily. In an effort to narrow things down a bit, we have searched the Internet for sites that have good lesson plans. Most of the sites listed also point to other sites that have lesson plans. So, if you are a teacher-in training, or an old pro, or somewhere in between, you will find something here that will either give you some new ideas, or perhaps reinforce your old ones. I still maintain that you should also develop your own lesson planning skills, which will serve you well in becoming a professional teacher.

Madeline Hunter - links to lesson planning. Her classic model has stood the test of time. Check out these links to add to your store of information.
http://faculty.leeu.edu/~bestes/resources/whitepaper.htm
http://www.bestonlinecollege.org/some-basic-lesson-presentation-elements/ 
http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/205/madelinehunter.htm
http://www.adultedlessons.org/login.cfm?fuseaction=aboutlp
Lesson Planning Tips. A great collection of practical tips as well as links to helpful sites.
Teachervision.com Lesson Plans. A nice collection and well-organized.
Teachers Net Lesson Plan Bank. This one is a must see for lesson plans in most subject areas. You can even submit your own here.
edHelper.com. This is a great source for lesson plans and education information.
Janet Young's Supercharged Educational Voyage. This is a must visit site. Wonderfully organized with many links to lesson plans and other useful information for teachers and those learning to be teachers.
Teachers Helping Teachers A good collection of teacher resources, including lesson plans.
Columbia Education Center A great page of lesson plans and links to other sites.
AskEric Lesson Plans A very comprehensive site with many links, lessons, and activities.
Lesson Plans Page.com. Now this one is really different. An eclectic collection of lesson plans and lesson planning ideas that is really worth a visit.

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