Lesson Planning

 

Contents

What is a lesson plan?.

Components of a lesson plan.

Lesson Design.

Lesson plan writing guidelines.

Writing a Lesson Plan.

Standards Met:

Objectives:

Input

Content Outline.

Input Strategy.

Reinforcement Activities.

Applications/Guided Practice.

Review Techniques.

Setting the Stage.

Interest Approach.

Link or Connection:

Motivation.

Preview:

Checking for Understanding

Closure or Contextual Summations.

Materials Needed:

Vocabulary and Terms:

Evaluation:

Teacher Reflection:

Facilitating the Lesson.

State Facilitation by setting context (Contextual sets)

Effective Language.

Using Modality Language.

Effective Directions.

What is a Lesson Plan? (top)

Components of a Lesson Plan

Lesson plans have various components each serving a specific role in propelling learning.  For example the interest approach serves to stimulate student interest in the lesson topic or lesson activity. Lesson components can be categorized into three general sections:

Interest Approach

Reinforcement Activities

Lesson Design

How much time do you actually spend on each section? Here is a guideline for a 50 minute period:

Lesson Plan Writing Guidelines

Before you begin the creative process of crafting a lesson plan, here are some guiding principles to keep in mind:

Nine principles of learning

  1. My brain is a complex, adaptable, social system.
    1. So, what does that mean?  The human brain is capable of processing at a very high level – can respond to stimulation, able to adapt to changing situations, and responds to being with other humans.
      1. Use group problem solving challenges – social systems
      2. Create community and belonging – social systems
      3. Utilize Colorful charts - complex
      4. Simulations – complex and adaptable
      5. Field trips– complex and adaptable
      6.  Projects– complex and adaptable
  2. My search for meaning is innate (in born) and occurs through patterning.
    1. O.K. so what do you mean by that?  Our brain naturally tries to put new information into a pattern for example categorize things, connect new information to previous knowledge, or put new information into a grant scheme.
      1. Tap into prior knowledge
      2. Create thematic environments
      3. Employ multiple strategies
      4. Let learners teach       
  1. Emotions are critical to patterning and making meaning.
    1. Definition?  We learn – remember when there is an emotion attached to the new information for example we are excited about the new skill or we were inspired by speech content.  On the same token, very little learning happens when we are emotionally involved in something else – stressed, afraid, depressed.
      1. Release stress – humor, games
      2. Increase rapport with students
      3. Partner learning
      4. Dialogues
      5. Celebrate learning
  1. My brain simultaneously perceives and creates parts and wholes.
    1. When we learn we want to see the big picture and its parts and our brain can process that at the same time. 
      1. Provide global overviews
      2. Sequence the steps for mastery
      3. Alternate between big pictures and detail
  1. My learning involves both focused attention and peripheral conscience, and non- conscience processes.
    1. Our brain is an amazing organ that can learn what we are focused on as well as things in our peripheral vision such as posters on the wall.  Also, we can learn what we are processing in our conscience state as well as in the non-conscience state.
      1. Display content in icon form
      2. Charts, diagrams, models, color coded,
      3. Post positive
  1. My brain remembers best when facts and skills are embedded in contextual memory.
    1. Learning happens when we put new content in context – in a particular time and place, setting.  So, for example if we are learning how to select cattle, if we put ourselves in the shoes of a cattle producer, the content becomes relevant and we are more apt to learn it.
      1. Develop mnemonics
      2. Create intense sensory experiences
      3. Role play
      4. Act
      5. Use body motions
      6. Stories
      7. Metaphors
  1. My learning is developmental.
    1. Our learning is dependent on our stages of maturity and mental development.  We are able to process higher order thinking skills – analysis as we mature.  Also, we can only focus for a given period of time before we mentally check out. 
      1. Explore age appropriate concepts
  1. My learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat.
    1. Our learning is propelled by challenges.
      1. Hold debates
      2. Assign multi-faceted projects with deadlines for display
      3. Inject surprise, suspense, and disorder
      4. Link subjects to other subjects
  1. My brain is unique.
    1. People learn differently – learning styles.
      1. Differentiate teaching strategies
      2. Use music
      3. Remember, there are different learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
      4. People are intelligent in different ways – Multiple intelligences
      5. Provide choice
      6. Cross age tutoring

Writing a Lesson Plan (top)

The order in which you write the lesson is different than the order in which the parts of delivered. Typical order of writing:

Standards Met:

If the lesson is addressing standards then list them here for reference (ex.  B1.1, 10.0).  Lesson may help meet several standards or parts of standards.  By referencing standards in your lesson plan you can review your curriculum  Standards List

Objectives:

Description: The objectives are a statement identifying what the teacher wants the student to know or be able to do at the end of the lesson – as a RESULT of the learning experiences that the teacher facilitated during the class period.

Educational Value:  Everything speaks in the classroom!  All activities crafted in a lesson plan are targeted at the objectives - designed to facilitate student learning of those very specific objectives – learning outcomes.  They are the ultimate learning goals for the lesson.

Examples – The students will:

 Well written objectives are very specific, observable, and measurable.

 Teachers should try to write objectives at various levels of Blooms Taxonomy to facilitate students gaining higher order thinking skills.  See the following web site for a description of Blooms Taxonomy and sample objective verbs:

 http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/h/z/hzl101/bloom.htm

Input

Content Outline

Description:  Outline what you intend to cover and in the order you intend to cover it.  This helps keep you focused on the lesson.

Example of a portion of a content outline:

  1. Purpose of Committees:
    1. Saves time for the larger group.
    2. Allows individuals to be responsible for specific tasks.
    3. Enables more detailed discussion or exploration of a topic.
  2. Skills Necessary to Work on Committees Effectively
    All committee structures have four common components.  They are:
    1. A leader or chairperson
    2. A recorder or secretary
    3. Committee members
    4. Issues to be dealt with accordingly.
      1. The leader or chairperson:
      2. Helps the committee to get acquainted
      3. Establishes and maintains an informal atmosphere
      4. States the issues or helps the committee state them
      5. Stimulates and directs the discussion towards the solution of the problem
      6. Keeps the committee moving
      7. Promotes participation by all members
      8. Encourages the timid soul; discourages the monopolizer
      9. Stimulates thinking -- sees that all sides of the question are heard
      10. Helps the group check up on itself by using and assisting the secretary
      11. Summarizes when necessary   

Teaching Techniques

Description: A technique or strategy used by the teacher to help students comprehend and retain new knowledge or skills

Educational Value: The acquisition of new knowledge is what teaching is all about. Some are more effective than others.

Here is some thing to keep in mind when selecting teaching techniques.  We learn:

10% of what we read,

20% of what we hear,

30% of what we see,

50% of what we see and hear,

70% of what we say,

90% of what we say and do.

Dr. Vernon A Magnesen, 1983

We learn best by doing!  We learn when the teacher designs a purposeful focused lesson. Learning is work!!! If we can build in 7 experiences for students to manipulate the information, learning happens!

Examples of experiences:

Examples of teaching techniques

*It is very difficult to find alternatives to lecture or reading activities to introduce new content.  So what we must to as effective teachers is to reinforce the input with activities that increase comprehension and retention.  More on these later.

Reinforcement Activities

Applications/Guided Practice

Description: An activity where the students use the information during an activity or practice the skill.

Educational value: Applications or guided practices increases comprehension and retention. “Active bodies’ equal active brains” This component can really propel student learning.  Remember, we all learn best by doing.  Engaging reinforcement activities break through language in that English Language Learners can see or watch the activity modeled and then do it.

Examples:

Things to think about:

Review Techniques

Description: Students “visit” the key points of the content again.

Educational value: Increased retention as this is one of the seven manipulations of the content.

Examples:

Things to think about:

Setting the Stage (top)

Hook or Anticipatory Set

Description:  All lessons begin with a hook or anticipatory set.  The hook serves to accomplish several things all designed and crafted to get students ready to learn. The intentions/purposes of the hook include:

So a teacher starts the lesson off with language or an activity that accomplishes all of these things.  All of these things help set the stage for the rest of the lesson.

Sometimes, something that a teacher says can serve more than one intention/purpose. 

For example, here is an example of a strategy that serves to set context and motivate – a personal story.

The teacher tells a story about her experience at the sheep unit in your college days.  She shares with eth students her duties including ewe lamb evaluation and some of her fond memories of that experience.  The teacher could add a bit of humor by telling about a funny experience or embarrassing situation.  That makes the story come alive – be real. 

By telling a  story, the teacher helps students see that sheep producers actually do this – they  evaluate ewe lambs each spring to determine which ewe lambs to keep for replacements and which to sell.  The students see that evaluation is a part of the “big picture” called sheep production.  Real people do this as part of their career and today we are going to learn how they do it.

This story also serves to motivate students by sharing with them the usefulness or practical value of what they are learning today (ewe lamb evaluation,. I t helps to answer the question that we all ask ourselves, and students do to, “why are we learning this?”  It is even more motivating if the teacher brings in lambs and holds them as you tell the story.  This experience arouses curiosity and intrigue

Setting context and motivation both by telling a story.

 Another example: 

 Here is a strategy that combines the motivation and preview.  Not much else needs to be done or said.

The teacher says something like this  “Today each of us are going to make ice cream from scratch and then enjoy the product of our toils at the end of the period!”

A final example that is a little different – teacher facilitates an activity to start off the class.  The activity is designed to motivate and help students make a connection between their lives and today’s topic.

When the students come in, pick up their note book, the teacher has a piece of scratch paper sitting at each desk.  The teacher instructs the students to list everything that they own. The teacher, anticipating that some students will say that they do not own anything, prompts them to include bicycles, clothes, and phones – things that they might not think of.  Next, the teacher asks them to estimate a value of each of the items.  The teacher can help them with this step. Finally, the teacher has the students add up all of the values (net worth).  The teacher shares with them that in financial terms, that is what they worth (not in the eyes of their parents, brothers and sisters and other relatives, and of course you, their favorite teacher – they are worth $1,000,000).  The teacher processes the activity by sharing with the students that what they just did is preparing a “net worth statement” and so on.

This activity, which I did when I taught high school by the way, helped my student connects “net worth statements” with their lives – the value of the items that they own.  It was motivating because kids always like to engage in activities that relates to their lives.  Some want to compare values but I tried to minimize that by telling the class that if I was to do this as a freshman I wouldn’t have been worth much.

Here are other examples  categorized into each subcomponent ( as the hook has several facets, each sub-component has its own section.

Link or Connection:

Description: A link connects the lesson topic to something that the students have previous knowledge or experienced.  It may be an activity that you open the lesson.  This way a teacher knows that the students have all had the same experience.

Educational value: We know from research that our brains attach new knowledge to existing knowledge so we use that in lesson design.  So if someone has learned how to add single digit numbers, we can build on that to teach them how to add multiple digit numbers. Or if all of your students have enjoyed ice cream, we can link to that experience at the beginning of a lesson on the dairy industry.  

Examples are 

Things to think about

Motivation

Description: Something in a lesson that arouses or stimulates the interest in the students. Something that motivates them to want to learn or participate in the lesson activities. The question "What's In It For Me?" (WIIFM) is answered.

Educational value: When we want to learn we are receptive. This step is essential. Without it, anything else you do is a waste of time as the students are not receptive to your teaching.

Examples of motivators

Things to think about:

Preview:

Description: A preview is a statement by the teacher telling the students what they are going to learn and/or do today.

Educational value: Some thinkers want to know what to expect. They will be the kind of students that frequently ask” What are we doing today?” in class. A preview helps to answer that question.

Examples:

Something to keep in mind about overviews

·         You don’t have to spell it all out for them. Sometimes, being a bit vague can arouse their curiosity even more. Sometimes you preview activities in the lesson as opposed to what they will actually learn – especially if you can not find a way to make it sound exciting. “Today we are going to learn how to fill out a job application.” “Today, you will be empowered with the skills necessary to get the job that you want!”

 

Checking for Understanding (top)

Description: A check for understanding is something that a teacher does to assess the comprehension of a newly taught portion of content, a set of directions, assignment description or expectations that was just taught in a lesson.

Educational value: A check for understanding assures the teacher that the majority of the students understand content, directions, assignment or expectations taught before they proceed with the lesson.

The key to an effective check is to assess a large enough sample of students to determine the accuracy of the results - that is include a majority of the students, all of them ideally, in the check for understanding.

Examples:

Closure or Contextual Summations (top)

Description: A closure “wraps up” the lesson – puts a bow around it and causes the students to leave the period feeling good about what they have just learned.

Educational value:  The contextual summation re-connects the learner to the overarching schema or theme – “key points.”  Then they can stay mindful of the importance of what they learned, and how this new information fits with previous or upcoming information.   The brain tends to remember best what it experiences first and last (primacy and recent).

Effective closures have three components: 

Closure Examples:

Materials Needed: (top)

List all of the materials you will need for the lesson.  This may include handouts, references, and equipment. Making a complete list will help you prepare for the lesson.

Vocabulary and Terms: (top)

List all words and terms that will be introduced during the lesson.  These may the technical terms associated with the lesson, or names of special tools and equipment.  

Evaluation: (top)

List or describe ways that you will assess or measure student success in achieving the outcomes that you planned to reach. This can include a variety of ways to evaluate student performance.

Teacher Reflection: (top)

This section is to be completed after lesson. It represents what you think worked, or what did not work, and why. It is meant to give you some insight into practice and will hopefully help you to make adjustments and modifications where necessary.

Facilitating the Lesson (top)

Most problems with lessons is not in the design, but in the facilitation of the lesson!

Once the lesson plan has been crafted, there are facilitation strategies that teachers need to implement to assure that the lesson goes as planned.  It is like a coach, if he/she has a game plan but not the skill set to carry out the plan, the team’s chances of winning is decreased.  Many of the strategies can be called start up and/or transitions, meaning things that teachers do to start a lesson and in between the components of a lesson plan.

Setting context (Contextual sets)

Description:  Contextual sets can keep students aware of the importance of what they are learning and keep them in an optimal state to learn.  Contextual sets contain three components:

Educational value:  Our brains tend to store information more efficiently when placing information contextually.  Context provides us with a time-space continuum and a schema in which to construct our knowledge.  By attaching the information we are learning to what we did yesterday, and how it affects the goal we are attaining, we provide relevance.  As a learner I want to know where I’ve been in light of where I am going!

Contextual sets affect the learner’s state of mind and attitude of readiness toward learning. More on this later.

Example:

In our previous episode of “Romance in the greenhouse,” we discovered that plants reproduce sexually like animals do.  We labeled the parts of a plant as we examined a real flower.  Now, remember, our overarching theme is “Every living thing reproduces itself.”  Today we’ll uncover how each part interacts with the other parts based on its function, Let’s remain curious today so we can build on what we already know.  If anyone can master this information it’s you so recover your notes from yesterday and tell two people near you two parts of a flower.

There are several factors associated with context.  They are:

There are three kinds of contextual sets

Ways to set context:

 

Description:  Contextual sets can keep students aware of the importance of what they are learning and keep them in an optimal state to learn.  Contextual sets contain three components:

Educational value:  Our brains tend to store information more efficiently when placing information contextually.  Context provides us with a time-space continuum and a schema in which to construct our knowledge.  By attaching the information we are learning to what we did yesterday, and how it affects the goal we are attaining, we provide relevance.  As a learner I want to know where I’ve been in light of where I am going!

Contextual sets affect the learner’s state of mind and attitude of readiness toward learning. More on this later.

Example:

In our previous episode of “Romance in the greenhouse,” we discovered that plants reproduce sexually like animals do.  We labeled the parts of a plant as we examined a real flower.  Now, remember, our overarching theme is “Every living thing reproduces itself.”  Today we’ll uncover how each part interacts with the other parts based on its function, Let’s remain curious today so we can build on what we already know.  If anyone can master this information it’s you so recover your notes from yesterday and tell two people near you two parts of a flower.

There are several factors associated with context.  They are:

There are three kinds of contextual sets

Ways to set context:

Questions teachers ask themselves when developing a lesson and the context to establish:

Now, back to the notion that setting context affect the learner’s state of mind and attitude of readiness toward learning.   Our state of mind is determined by three things: 

So, as teachers we can affect the state of mind of your students by:

We want to shuffle the existing state of mind of our students and recreate an optimal state for learning!  If all learning is state dependent as Eric Jensen (Brain based learning guru) suggests then it is imperative that we focus energy and attention to facilitating the student’s state or psycho-physiological condition to maintain their interest and focus their thinking on the content.

Examples of states

Examples of state changing strategies:

Here are some examples of changing the state:

Effective Language

Description:  Everything speaks in a lesson – the environment, teacher-student interactions, lesson design, and the language teacher’s use.  As verbal communication is limited in its impact on the communication process, it behooves us as teacher to be efficient (economy of language), clear, and welcoming (inclusive language) in instruction, direction, conversations with students.  Also, we can appeal to our diverse learners by using words that connect to their learning style (modality language).

 Economy of language:  When crafting your directions or instruction be brief, direct, clear and student centered.  Eliminate phrased like “I want you to,”  “you need to” “”Go ahead and..”  Script out your directions while you learn how to be more efficient with language.

 Remember, the longer you talk, the further away the minds of the students go.

Using Modality Language

Description:  We know that there are different learning styles.  A common model categorizes learning styles as visual (learn best by seeing), auditory (learn best by hearing), and kinesthetic learners (learn best by movement). 

An obvious strategy we as teacher can use to reach all students is to vary our activities utilizing those that appeal to each learning modality daily.  Another strategy is to use modality language, meaning using words and phrases that appeal to each modality.

Examples:

Visual language

can you envision…

picture this

look into your minds eye

focus in on

let’s take a panoramic view of

can you see 

Auditory language

Does this ring true…

Can you hear it

Talk it out in your mind

What would that sound like

Kinesthetic

Wrap your brain around

Grasp this

Hammer this home

Climb the ladder

Catch it

Adventure

Journey

As we move from

Effective Directions

Description: Ever let students begin an activity or assignment (especially group related) only to have someone ask, “What are we supposed to do?” Or ever give a set of directions and before you finish students are already moving? Within effective directions reside essential components that maximize students’ responsiveness.

Educational value:  Deploying students to a task, activity, or assignment requires clarity. Lack of clarity leads to confusion. The brain needs specific information to create the appropriate images. Once the image is clear corresponding actions occur.

When movement increases, hearing decreases. Although this may not be biologically true, it is psychologically true. We see this happen when we give simple directions such as, “Open your books to page 127.” As students grab their books someone inevitably asks, “What page?”

Time focused on learning is a precious commodity. For everyone minute students are confused about the directions is a minute of lost learning time. For example, if 10 students take 2 minutes to clarify the teacher’s directions that equates to 20 minutes of lost learning time. If this occurs multiple times in a lesson you can imagine the impact on learning.

  Effective directions include the following components:

·         set context

·         signal word, statement, sound or motion - “When you hear Go,…”

·         begin with action verbs – “Read, draw, grab, …

·         address visual, auditory and kinesthetic characteristics (KEG)

·         time frame

·         check for understanding (with directions with 3 or more steps)

·         WD (What to do when done.)

·         stand still

·         use supporting non-verbals

Example:

We’ve captured the 5 levels of leadership according to John Maxwell. Take a few short moments to silently review your notes with yourself. [Pause for independent review.]

We’ll refer to these often so let’s make sure we’ve got them nailed. In your mind, create a poster that would capture the important characteristics of each of the 5 components. Be sure your poster has the name of all five levels, and a definition for each. [Pause for visualization of poster.]

Now add to your poster a simile for each. For example, “leadership by position” is like the a sheriff’s badge. In your mind, create a simile for each component. [Pause for visualization of poster. Then allow them to open their eyes.]

You’ll create a poster that contains 1) the names of 5 levels of leadership, 2) definitions for each component and 3) a picture of the simile for each component. Be ready when I call on you to tell us what your poster contains. [Elicit responses.]

When I say, “Posterize” you’ll have 10 minutes to accomplish your Leadership Masterpiece. During these 10 minutes I’ll be able to see words and pictures neatly produced and hear creative conversations. We’ll do this in partners. Posterize.

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