Do you enjoy lesson planning? If not, you may be doing it wrong! It’s a task that many teachers have to carry out on a regular basis, and it certainly presents challenges. But it’s also a great opportunity to showcase your creativity and craft engaging lessons that invite students to travel with you on a journey.
An essential road map
To write a lesson plan is to create a road map. You’re leading your students on a journey. And as the leader, you’re responsible for knowing where the students are, where you’re taking them, and how you’ll get them there. You’re also responsible for monitoring the students’ learning throughout the journey and evaluating each of their strengths and weaknesses. This helps you figure out how to best utilize and adapt to those differences throughout the course of the lesson.
Basic elements of every lesson plan
Although the specific names and categories included in various lesson plan formats may differ slightly, they all contain four essential elements.
The objective is by far the most important element. It states what you want the students to learn, to what degree you want them to learn it, and how you’ll know if they’ve actually learned it. One site uses an ABCD model to describe the typical parts of an objective:
- Audience (who the learners are)
- Behavior (an observable and measurable skill the students will demonstrate)
- Condition (equipment used to demonstrate the skill)
- Degree (how well the students must be able to perform the designated skill)
How will you begin the lesson? How will you capture the students’ interest right off the bat and draw them in? The best introductions are the most engaging ones. Another element often included in an introduction is a review. Before moving on to new material, you want to verify that the students remember and have a context for previously covered material.
What are the steps or procedures you’ll use to teach the lesson? Will there be a discussion? Small group activities? Individual work time? You should settle for something inclusive that most or all of your students will be able to complete.
How will you know if your students have arrived at the destination? The easy part about writing the assessment section of a lesson plan is that you should have already stated, in the objective, how you will assess your students. Your assessment may not always take place at the end of the lesson. Instead, your lesson assessment may have already taken place throughout the activity portion.
Besides these four elements, lesson plans may include other sections such as a place to list the materials you will use, amplification or reinforcement activities, and any assigned homework. You can also find formats for daily one-subject lesson plans, unit plans, multi-subject plans, and weekly plans. For this article, we’ll limit the examples to daily one-subject lesson plans.
6 daily (one-subject) lesson plans for elementary school
I was introduced to this format, called O-M 4A, in college. It includes the four basic elements plus a section for amplification, which is where you state your plan for re-teaching, reinforcing, or providing higher content material based on your assessment and observations throughout the lesson.
What I like about this format is that the name makes it easier to remember all the parts, it encourages the inclusion of an engaging introduction, and it helps you remember to have a plan in place both for the students who need more challenging material and those who need extra reinforcement on the lesson objective.
- Anticipatory set (introduction)
I like this option for the discussion or review sections, since it isn’t always easy to think up discussion points on the fly, and it’s certainly more cumbersome to refer to a heavy textbook for those points.
- Standards based outcomes (objectives)
- Required prior knowledge (introduction)
- Procedures or steps (activity)
- Discussion or review
- Enrichment (amplification)
If you have a content-heavy lesson with lots of different references (or if your district requires you to cite your sources), this is the plan to use. It also allows you to have another way to track your homework assignments.
- Lesson objectives
- Summary of tasks/actions
- Take home tasks
This is an online lesson plan format that really focuses on helping the teacher organize and prepare for the lesson beforehand and reflect on it afterward.
- Learning goals with curriculum and lesson objectives
- Starting situation (introduction)
- Consulted resources
- Lesson preparation
- Board scheme
- Teacher reflection
5. K12 Reader
If you’re required to identify the course standards you’re following, this is a good format to use. You could put the content notes in the outline and the steps you’ll take to teach it to the students in the activity section. You could also use the outline to list how you will teach the lesson and the activity section to describe how the students will practice the objective.
- Special activity
- Standards addressed
This guided format is divided into two sections: the setup and the lesson. It also includes checkpoints after each section to help you work through important questions of the lesson plan process, such as, “Why are you teaching this objective, in this way, at this time, to these students?”
- Unit goals
- Learning objectives
Check out this resource from Teacherplanet for more lesson plan templates.
Other types of lesson plan formats
Other than daily lesson plans, at Teacherplanet you’ll also find templates for unit plans, multi-subject lesson plans, weekly lesson plans, and even monthly lesson plans. Of course, you can format and adjust any template to meet your specific needs and preferences.
Lesson plans can be extremely helpful
No matter which style or format you use, crafting engaging lesson plans allows you to see and internalize the big picture of what you’re teaching your students. Having your plans written down in a clear way eliminates the tiring task of having to remember every step you’re planning on taking to teach the lesson. This enables you to focus the bulk of your mental strength on monitoring the students’ engagement with and understanding of the material as you’re guiding them through the lesson.
Though it does take time and effort, writing a quality lesson plan that you can refer to throughout the class period is positively worth it.
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