The ultimate goal of a lesson plan is to help students engage in learning and effectively acquire complete knowledge or skill in content and objectives while also having fun. However, there are a number of other factors that educators should consider when teaching a group of students. These factors include state standards, learning styles, disabilities, ability levels, native languages, age, collaborative opportunities, and more.
In this article, Paulette Chaffee, an experienced teacher and educational consultant shares a few tips to create an effective and engaging lesson plan.
First, understand the objectives
Knowing and outlining the learning objectives for a lesson plan is the first step to identifying what skills and knowledge students should gain by the end of class. Teachers should go by their school and state standards to determine what objectives to include. The objectives should also be communicated to students at the beginning of the lesson so they can see the day’s objectives in the same place every day to serve as a constant reminder.
The purpose behind what students are doing and how they should be doing it needs to be clear in the directions and behavioral expectations set for students. Writing out a clear introduction during lesson planning can help proactively communicate such directions and expectations as well. In addition, educators who list their objectives based on importance are better prepared to manage class time.
Revolve main activities around all students
The reality of a classroom is that no one student is the same, and teachers should activate prior knowledge to customize what activities work best for all learning types. Doing so will help teachers be more aware and sense where students are when introducing new material.
Determining what activities to incorporate into a lesson that will best help students understand the material can be done by reflecting on where students are socially, emotionally, and academically. When planning activities, note the activities’ length when considering the most constructive and appropriate pace to avoid students becoming lost or confused, restless, or uninterested.
Incorporate student interests
Another constructive way to decide the best activities to incorporate into a lesson is to include examples or exercises that align with student interests. Educators should strive to keep students engaged and motivated to continue learning through the entire class. Choosing to discuss or implement activities that involve student interests that are parallel to the lesson’s objectives will help do just that. Considering community events that everyone can participate in that are related to lesson objectives can keep students active in the community and engaged in the learning.
Leave room for higher-order thinking opportunities
Teachers should always leave time during a lesson for student thinking and discussion. Doing so allows students to digest, process, and respond to the objectives they just learned and for a teacher to check for student understanding. Healthy classroom discussions will effectively keep students engaged as they converse about the topic and learn how to communicate their thoughts and ideas that might align with objectives or others’ opinions.
In addition, educators can prepare questions to ask students that challenge further thinking during a discussion. Doing so encourages students to exercise their creativity and critical thinking, ultimately pushing their thought process to the next level.
Create a positive learning environment
A positive learning environment can drastically improve student engagement and the lesson’s success. Students learn best in a positive learning environment where they feel happy and safe.
About Paulette Chaffee
Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community. As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education. Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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