Easy ways to improve a lesson plan.
No matter how good your lesson plan may be, there are always little ways that you can make it even better. And if you happen to fairly new at writing a lesson plan, here are some easy ways to improve your lesson plan.
Plan your tests ahead of time. If you know what you plan to test your students on, then you'll know the most important things to cover in your lesson plan. While no one likes teaching to the test, in this case, you are creating a symbiotic relationship between the test and your lesson plan, thereby improving both of them at the same time. If your school has department wide tests rather than letting individual teachers create their own tests, then it is all the more important (albeit a bit less exciting) to know what will be on the test. While it's important to give a well rounded lesson, if your students fail the test, they will become demoralized and may not be as interested in future lessons, no matter how good they are.
Consider your individual students and their needs. Does Samantha need to have mathematical concepts explained to her using physical objects? Make sure you incorporate that into your lesson plan. Maybe Joey needs to have things explained in football terms because he's the captain of the football team. Try to throw some of those in. This is not to say that your lesson plan must be tailored to any one particular student. Rather, an easy way to improve a lesson plan is to tailor it to your entire class.
Ask yourself what you would want to know about this if you were a child. Be honest. We were all children once upon a time. Think about what would have excited you as a child and consider how that translates to kids today. Of course relating your lesson plan to something Alex P. Keaton did on Family Ties may not fly for your students, but maybe you could relate it to something Hannah Montana did on her show.
Consider not just the individual lesson, but the big picture. You've likely given some lessons before this one and you'll likely be giving some lessons after this one. Where does this fit into the broad spectrum of what you are teaching your students? Will they gain any kind of benefit from it or will it be isolated? If it is isolated, maybe it's time to think about how it can be directly tied to another lesson you're teaching.
Consider homework carefully. We've discussed this in previous articles, but this is such an obvious way to improve a lesson plan that it bears repeating again. Homework should re-enforce what you taught your students in class. It should never be a simple review. So if you taught your students about the War of 1812, homework should be to write who invaded the White House and why. Maybe homework should be who Dolly Madison was and what she did as the White House was burning. Perhaps you should ask your students to find out what France, the United States' ally was doing at the time. Expand the scope while re-enforcing what they learned, instead of simply giving them rote homework and you will easily make your lesson plan that much better.