teachin' school

teaching tip 15. lesson plans are a must.

every school is different.  my school uses the 5E model for lesson plans.  honestly, it’s not my favorite format.  it doesn’t always fit every lesson, but i am required to do it.  and it’s good for me too.  there is a lot of though processing that goes into creating a lesson plan.  it helps me review info and think about trying new things.  and if you write notes on your plans about how things went and what to change, you’ll be a step ahead the next year.

a good lesson plan should have:

  • state standards (in Texas, they’re called the TEKS.  you may use the national standards or common core) – some districts don’t require this part.  mine does.  i form my learning targets from the state standards.  the lesson plan program we use (eduphoria) keeps track of when you use them so you don’t miss any.  a simple checklist would do the same thing.
  • objectives or learning targets to show the kids (and remind you) of where y’all are headed for the day.  i write these on the board so we can both see and read them.  one to three learning targets are good for one day.
  • a good opening and closing – something to hook them into the lesson and something to reel them in.
  • questioning at different levels for all students – i just started to write down my questions.  i don’t know why i resisted it for so long.  i guess i just wanted to believe that a good teacher could come up with good scaffolded questions on the fly.  but i forget things or ask too many lower level questions when i do that.  it’s better to just have a list handy.
  • evaluation can be simple or complex or both.  i like a few closing questions and some kind of processing assignment.

it takes a long time to get the hang of writing good lesson plans.  and every year you will have to start over.  yeah, you can use ideas from last year, but there will always be things you’ll need to change.  for example, this year our class periods went from 50 minutes to 45 minutes.  you wouldn’t think that it would make that much of a difference and yet it does!  so be flexible and try something new.  you never know what’s going to work really well and what will fall flat.

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