Significant Parts to Include Into a Lesson Plan
Lesson planning can be a daunting and time-consuming task. This being said, lesson planning is a crucial element that enables fluidity and optimal learning experiences in the classroom. When preparing lessons, it is important to make sure that your lesson, content, and activities that may be used are relevant, engaging, innovative, beneficial, and differentiated for each student in your classroom.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mary K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
First and foremost, your lessons must be engaging and relevant for the students. Students are more likely to pay attention if you can grab their attention at the beginning of the lesson and maintain their excitement and interests throughout the lesson. When creating lesson plans throughout my student teaching experience, we called this first part of the anticipatory set. The anticipatory set should always be a part of the lesson plan as it is the hook to the lesson, essentially what will draw your students in and pique their interest. The anticipatory set can be something very simple such as students raising their hands to show a response to a question, voting, or showing a quick video.
Now that you have their attention, you are going to want to keep it by ensuring that the activities and content within your lesson are relevant to the students. Making the content relevant to the students can take some extra time while lesson planning but it is always worth it. When I was working with my third-grade class, I slowly picked up on some of their favorite activities or hobbies. When planning, I would use their names and some of their favorite things to do in word problems and this made them excited to do their work and learn more about the current content. Students are almost always guaranteed to be focused and willing to put forth the effort when the subject at hand has some sort of relevance to them. While lesson planning, make sure to incorporate some sort of anticipatory set that grabs the student’s attention as well as components that make the material and learning objective relevant to the students.
Also Read: H. Gardner’s Theory Multiple Intelligences
While it can be easy for teachers to favor some activities to others, it is important to make sure that your lessons are innovative and continuously changing. This being said, you want to keep a routine while mixing up the types of games and activities that you incorporate into your lesson plans. No matter how much a student, or teacher for that matter, loves a game being used or an activity if it becomes overused than it will start to become boring and students will lose interest which can lead to not following directions, misbehaving, and getting off track. When new methods, strategies, or activities are being introduced in a lesson plan, it is important to allow time to show the students how to go about navigating this new concept. Being innovative with a lesson plan not only benefits the students but the teacher as well as it allows you to look at a topic through multiple different perspectives.
Keeping Track of Pretaughed Information
As a teacher, it can be easy to get caught up in only focusing on one skill at a time. While you generally are trying to target a specific skill throughout your lesson plans, it is important to keep in mind previous material that has been taught as well as potentially adding future material. The importance of the material being beneficial or differentiated for each student was highly stressed throughout my elementary education practicum. Each student needs to be continuously challenged which can be a hard task to tackle when each student learns at a different pace. This problem can generally be solved while lesson planning by grouping students on their strengths and weaknesses.
This allows for differentiated content, best to do it in a fashion where students don’t know they are grouped based on weaknesses, that are beneficial for each student. If you think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to give all students the same practice of the same current skills when some students haven’t yet mastered the previous skill that was taught. The above-average group doesn’t get three times more of the workload just because they excel in certain areas. Differentiated content does not mean more work, it simply means more challenging work. Lesson planning allows you to carve out work that is individualized for each student. If a student becomes very frustrated or flustered with their work because it is above their level then they will be severely discouraged, which is why it is important to create work that is beneficial to their academic success.
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There are many different components to take into consideration when lesson planning. The main ones I focus on and that I believe lead to a positive and successful learning environment include the ideas that your materials are engaging, relevant, innovative, beneficial, and differentiated for each student. It is okay to toy around with your lesson planning methods, not everything is going to turn out how you planned the first time around. You will eventually find a groove of what works and what doesn’t. This may change year after year as you have different groups of students, but you must take the time to figure out what works best for you and your students. Lesson planning is a tool to create a flourishing learning environment for both the teacher and the students.
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