Sunday, January 31, 2010

Writing Lesson Plans

The reality of teaching 6-8 classes a day means that seasoned teachers often do their best to condense what's required in a lesson plan to the bare minimum. This makes it difficult for someone just learning to write lesson plans to decipher what should be in them and why. There are some components of lesson plans that seem repetitive until you look more closely at what is being asked. Lesson plans keep a teacher "honest." Are you teaching what you think you're teaching?

The following information came from the web-site:

I have not yet explored this entire site but there may be further information that you might find helpful in the coming weeks.

A "play by play" of a lesson plan- you may not need all of the components but it is good to know what each one is.

Lesson Plan Format:
Teacher_______________________________________ Subject_________________________

Grade Level_________________ 

I. Content: This is a statement that relates to the subject-matter content. The content may be a concept or a skill. Phrase this as follows: I want my students to: (be able to [name the skill]) OR (I want my students to understand [a description of the concept]). Often times, this content is predetermined or strongly suggested by the specific curriculum you are implementing through your teaching.

II. Prerequisites: Indicate what the student must already know or be able to do in order to be successful with this lesson. (You would want to list one or two specific behaviors necessary to begin this lesson). Some research indicates that up to 70% of what a student learns is dependent on his or her possessing the appropriate prerequisites.

III. Instructional Objective: Indicate what is to be learned - this must be a complete objective. Write this objective in terms of what an individual student will do, not what a group will do. Limit your objective to one behavioral verb. The verb you choose must come from the list of defined behavioral verbs on my web site. Make sure your objective relates to the content statement above.

IV. Instructional Procedures: Description of what you will do in teaching the lesson, and, as appropriate, includes a description of how you will introduce the lesson to the students, what actual instructional techniques you will use, and how you will bring closure to the lesson. Include what specific things students will actually do during the lesson. In most cases, you will provide some sort of summary for the students.

V. Materials and Equipment: List all materials and equipment to be used by both the teacher and learner and how they will be used.

VI. Assessment/Evaluation: Describe how you will determine the extent to which students have attained the instructional objective. Be sure this part is directly connected to the behavior called for in the instructional objective.

VII. Follow-up Activities: Indicate how other activities/materials will be used to reinforce and extend this lesson. Include homework, assignments, and projects.

VIII. Self-Assessment (to be completed after the lesson is presented): Address the major components of the lesson plan, focusing on both the strengths, and areas of needed improvement. Determine here how you plan to collect information that will be useful for planning future lessons. A good idea is to analyze the difference between what you wanted (the objective) and what was attained (the results of the assessment).

This also came from the same site and is a list of common mistakes in lesson planning.

1. The objective of the lesson does not specify what the student will actually do that can be observed. Remember, an objective is a description of what a student does that forms the basis for making an inference about learning. Poorly written objectives lead to faulty inferences.

2. The lesson assessment is disconnected from the behavior indicated in the objective. An assessment in a lesson plan is simply a description of how the teacher will determine whether the objective has been accomplished. It must be based on the same behavior that is incorporated in the objective. Anything else is flawed.

3. The prerequisites are not specified or are inconsistent with what is actually required to succeed with the lesson. Prerequisites mean just that -- a statement of what a student needs to know or be able to do to succeed and accomplish the lesson objective. It is not easy to determine what is required, but it is necessary. Some research indicates that as much as 70% of learning is dependent on students having the appropriate prerequisites.

4. The materials specified in the lesson are extraneous to the actual described learning activities. This means keep the list of materials in line with what you actually plan to do. Overkilling with materials is not a virtue!

5. The instruction in which the teacher will engage is not efficient for the level of intended student learning. Efficiency is a measure that means getting more done with the same amount of effort, or the same amount with less effort. With so much to be learned, it should be obvious that instructional efficiency is paramount.

6. The student activities described in the lesson plan do not contribute in a direct and effective way to the lesson objective. Don't have your students engaged in activities just to keep them busy. Whatever you have your students do should contribute in a direct way to their accomplishing the lesson objective.

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