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When writing a lesson plan, there are a few important things to take into consideration: "
Is it interesting? Let's face it - you're likely speaking to an audience of bored kids who want to be anywhere but in your classroom. Ask your self, "What I want to be in the audience?" While you do have a curriculum you need to cover, there are different ways of covering that same curriculum.
a. You could for example offer a really boring speech explaining that the War of 1812 was precipitated by the embargo of American ships by the British navy and the impressments of her sailors into the British Navy. You could do that if you wanted your students to fall asleep and if you wanted to sound like you were quoting an encyclopedia that is. Or. . .
b. You could relate the war to things happening today. Show a video of the Somali pirates who have disrupted shipping lanes and taken people, including several Americans, prisoner. Ask your students what they think of that. Is it scary? Does it sound like something that's right or a good thing? Then relate it back to the War of 1812. Paint a picture for your students. "Imagine you're a sailor at 15 years old. Your ship has been boarded and you're being herded like cattle by men with bayonets. You know you'll probably never see your family again. You wonder if your country, the United States will be able to do anything to help you." Have the kids act it out themselves. Suddenly, they're not just passively listening to an encyclopedia. They're living through history. And they're actually engaged.
Does it cover the facts? It's possible to get too caught up in the drama of a reenactment and to forget that you still need to teach a lesson to your students. Make sure that you work in everything they'll need to know. Often, you will not be able to do this just according to what you think. Consider the following:
a. Does your school have standardized tests across departments? If so, you need to make sure you cover the same material on your lesson plan that other teachers are covering. Otherwise, it doesn't matter how much your students enjoy the lesson, they simply will not know what they need to know.
b. Do your students need to pass a State or National test? In New York State for example, high school students are required to pass a test called the Regents Exam. It is administered by the New York State Board of Regents and has a specific curriculum your students must know.
Will it fit in your allotted time? As important as it is to create a meaningful lesson for your students, it is equally important to keep in mind that you will typically have just 45 minutes to get your point across. You should also watch for these issues:
a. Getting settled. No teacher likes to waste time in class, but the reality is that it takes a few minutes for kids to get settled and ready to learn. Make sure that you allow time in your lesson plan for this and make sure you have something for them to do to get them settled quickly.
b. Off topic teachable moments. If you really want your students to get the most out of your class, you need to account for the unpredictable "teachable moments," when kids ask a great question which leads to a tangent. Just don't get carried away with them.