How Do You Write A Lesson Plan?
Writing a lesson plan is both complicated and easy. It's complicated because there is no one perfect way to write a lesson plan, but it's also easy because you know yourself and what works for you in a classroom. As we said in a previous article, a lesson plan has five major points (there are others, as you will see in a future article, however these are basic core that any lesson plan must have). Let's look at each one and explain the why and the how of writing them.
Aim: This is usually in the form of a question and is often written as a question. Some teachers take this to the extreme and write everything in the form of a question. For example, some teachers will write a lesson plan where they review material for the test and write as the aim, "How can we achieve high test scores?" While this may be in keeping with the technical rules of a lesson plan, this is one of those times when a teacher must be flexible and simply offer a more coherent title. There is nothing wrong with a non question title, such as "Test review." One teacher I know likes to write the aim for his tests as "high test scores."
That said, an aim should ideally be a question. The reason is curiosity. Seeing a question makes us want to answer it. That's why television shows and books are so successful. They work by making you ask questions - who killed the maid? (answer: the butler did it!). Children in a classroom are no different. They need to have a question to answer in order to get themselves interested. However, that's only the beginning.
Motivation: This is one the trickiest things for teachers to come up with. You want something that will grab kids attention and get them to think. The motivation could be anything. It could be a leading question which shows why they should care about the question in your aim, it could be a demonstration (for example, a science teacher might show her students what happens when you combine Mentos with Diet Cokey or a math teacher might show off a cool math trick). This is very much up to you. Find what works for you and writing your lesson plan will be easy.
Plan: Of all the parts of the lesson plan, this is by far the easiest for teachers to do since this is exactly what you signed on for - to instruct. Here, you lay out step by step exactly what you will talk about in your lesson plan. The science teacher might discuss what her students are actually eating when they chew on a Menots candy and what they're drinking when they have a can of Diet Coke. The math teacher might show exactly how that cool math trick is done and why it's got applications for other math problems he wants to show.
Independent Practice: Independent practice is a tricky part of writing a lesson plan and one we'll revisit throughout this series. It shouldn't just be a rehash of what the kids learned in school that day. Instead, it should ideally be something to help them remember the material and expand on it.
Follow up: This part of the lesson plan is usually fairly short. Basically, it's what you plan to do next. The science teacher might build on the Diet Coke and Mentos for example and show what happens to a rusty nail in Coke, asking the students why that is. A math teacher might show how the previous lesson can be built on to do even more complex math equations.