Lesson planning helps teachers deliver lessons that are effective and focused. A well-planned lesson is also more engaging, stimulating, and interesting for your students. They will enjoy the lesson more and educational outcomes will be improved when lessons are well-structured.
Lesson planning can also help teachers gradually improve the effectiveness of each lesson and avoid past mistakes. Here are some simple tips that will help you perfect your lesson planning.
Use dynamic objectives
Each lesson should have a set of clear objectives that define what you want your students to learn during the lesson. Write dynamic objectives that are student focused and use active verbs. For example, “By the end of this class, students will be able to use a metaphor”. Objectives should always be closely aligned with assessments and curriculum requirements.
Use SMART objectives, where each objective meets the following criteria:
- Specific — very clear and well-defined objectives
- Measurable — you can evaluate the success of the learning objective afterwards
- Achievable — the students can accomplish the objective during a lesson
- Realistic — the objectives are reasonable given the student’s current knowledge/skills
- Timely — there is enough time for your students to reach the lesson objectives
Create multiple learning activities per objective
Once you have defined some learning objectives, create activities that you know will be effective at achieving those objectives. Include multiple learning activities for each objective, so students can approach the concept in different ways. Having multiple learning activities also gives you a “plan B” if it becomes apparent that your students are struggling with a particular approach. Make learning activities as engaging and exciting as possible — you really need to capture your student’s attention.
Incorporate material that the students have previously learned
Don’t forget to occasionally revise material that students have recently learned. The best practice for revising previously learned information is to integrate it with the new concepts that students are learning that day. In some cases, you may have to plan entire lessons focused on revision.
Tailor each lesson plan to the class
It is important to remember every class and every student is different. The lesson plan that worked perfectly last year may not be appropriate for a class that is struggling with the material. Consider how well students are performing and how they like to learn before committing to a lesson plan.
Make sure resources are available well in advance of the lesson
At the end of each week, review upcoming lesson plans. Even if those lesson plans are not fleshed out, you should be able to identify the materials or equipment you will need for each lesson. Book these resources well ahead of the lesson. If you can’t gain access to a projector, library time or computers, it could throw your class off-schedule.
Add some variety to lesson plans
Avoid having multiple lessons that use a single learning technique. If you ask your students to read giant slabs of text for five lessons in a row, they will become bored and struggle to engage with the material. Mix things up and use a variety of techniques. Don’t be afraid to suddenly start a conversation or use a “plan B” technique if you notice your students drifting off.
Think about how material is being taught in other classrooms
Communicate with other teachers to learn how they are currently presenting their lessons. If they are mostly working from a textbook, use a different approach during your lesson to keep students engaged.
Look at other teacher’s lesson plans
If you are in a rut and looking for lesson plan inspiration, ask your colleagues if they have any ideas that work well in their classroom. You can also view the lesson plans of other teachers online. This will help you constantly improve your lesson plans and reach your goal of creating the perfect lesson.
Be aware that different topics benefit from different approaches
When writing your lesson plan, consider the topic and its complexity before deciding on a delivery method for the lesson. Some complex topics might benefit from a powerpoint presentation or handouts instead of a lecture. You might require more time for one-on-one teaching with your students after presenting the topic. Make sure the lesson plan has enough time allotted for any changes on your delivery method.
Focus on interactivity
All lesson plans should have an interactive component, where students talk about the material and ask questions. Make sure every lesson plan includes time for explaining new concepts, working through concepts individually, then discussion.
We hope you enjoyed reading our tips for planning the perfect lesson. By experimenting with different approaches for your lesson plans, you can help students really make the most of their lessons.