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How to Write a Lesson Plan

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

We have received several questions
regarding how to write a good lesson plan. We went ahead and asked
our experts, did some research, and have included some tips and guidelines

To begin, ask yourself three basic questions:

Where are your students going?

How are they going to get there?

How will you know when they’ve arrived?

Then begin to think about each of the following categories which form
the organization of the plan. While planning, use the questions below to
guide you during each stage.

Goals determine purpose, aim, and rationale
for what you and your students will engage in during class time. 
Use this section to express the intermediate lesson goals that draw upon
previous plans and activities and set the stage by preparing students for
future activities and further knowledge acquisition.  The goals are
typically written as broad educational or unit goals adhering to State
or National curriculum standards.

What are the broader objectives,
aims, or goals of the unit plan/curriculum?
* What are your goals for this unit?
* What do you expect students to be able to do by the end of this unit?

This section focuses on what your students will do to acquire
further knowledge and skills. The objectives
for the daily lesson plan are drawn from the broader aims of the unit plan
but are achieved over a well defined time period.

What will students be able to do during this lesson?
* Under what conditions will students’ performance be accomplished?
* What is the degree or criterion
on the basis of which satisfactory attainment of the objectives will be
* How will students demonstrate that they have learned and understood
the objectives of the lesson?

Prerequisites can be useful when considering the readiness state of your
students.  Prerequisites allow you, and other teachers replicating your
lesson plan, to factor in necessary prep activities to make sure that students
can meet the lesson objectives.

What must students already be able to do before this

What concepts have to be mastered
in advance to accomplish the lesson objectives?

This section has two functions: it helps other teachers
quickly determine a) how much preparation time, resources, and management will
be involved in carrying out this plan and b) what materials, books, equipment,
and resources they will need to have ready.  A complete list of materials,
including full citations of textbooks or story books used, worksheets, and any
other special considerations are most useful.

What materials will be needed?
What textbooks or story books are needed?
(please include full bibliographic citations)
What needs to be prepared in advance?
(typical for science classes and cooking or baking activities)

Lesson Description
This section provides an opportunity
for the author of the lesson to share some thoughts, experience, and advice
with other teachers. It also provides a general overview of the lesson
in terms of topic focus, activities, and purpose.

What is unique about this lesson?
How did your students like it?
What level of learning is covered
by this lesson plan? (Think of Bloom’s Taxonomy: knowledge, comprehension,
application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation.)

Lesson Procedure
This section provides a detailed, step-by-step
description of how to replicate the lesson and achieve lesson plan objectives. 
This is usually intended for the teacher and provides suggestions on how
to proceed with implementation of the lesson plan.  It also focuses
on what the teacher should have students do during the lesson.  This
section is basically divided into several components: an introduction,
a main activity, and closure.  There are several elaborations on this.
We have linked to some sample lesson plans to guide
you through this stage of planning.

  • Introduction

How will you introduce the ideas and objectives of this
How will you get students’ attention
and motivate them in order to hold their attention?
How can you tie lesson objectives with student interests and past
classroom activities?
What will be expected of students?

  • Main Activity

What is the focus of the lesson?
How would you describe the flow
of the lesson to another teacher who will replicate it?
What does the teacher do to facilitate
learning and manage the various activities?
What are some good and bad examples
to illustrate what you are presenting to students?
How can this material be presented
to ensure each student will benefit from the learning experience?

Rule of Thumb # 1:
Take into consideration what students
are learning (a new skill, a rule or formula, a concept/fact/idea, an attitude,
or a value).
one of the following techniques to plan the lesson content based on what
your objectives are:
Demonstration ==> list in detail and sequence of the
steps to be performed
Explanation      ==> outline the information to be explained
Discussion       ==> list of key questions to guide the discussion


  • Closure/Conclusion

What will you use to draw the ideas together for students at the
How will you provide feedback to
students to correct their misunderstandings and reinforce their learning?

  • Follow up Lessons/Activities

What activities might you suggest for enrichment and remediation?
What lessons might follow as a result of this lesson?

This section focuses on ensuring that your students have arrived at
their intended destination.  You will need to gather some evidence
that they did.  This usually is done by gathering students’ work and
assessing this work using some kind of grading rubric that is based on
lesson objectives. You could also replicate some of the activities
practiced as part of the lesson, without providing the same level of
guidance as during the lesson.  You could always quiz students on various
concepts and problems as well.
How will you evaluate the objectives that were
Have students practiced what you are asking them to do for evaluation?

Rule of Thumb # 2:

Be sure to provide students with
the opportunity to practice what you will be assessing them on.  You should
never introduce new material during this activity.  Also, avoid asking
higher level thinking questions if students have not yet engaged in such
practice during the lesson.  For example,  if you expect students to apply
knowledge and skills, they should first be provided with the opportunity to
practice application.