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A typical lesson plan has an essential question or E.Q. This is the "big idea" that is being taught, usually for an extended period of time. Next is the aim. This is what the teacher is targeting for that day's learning outcome. A do now is usually next in a lesson plan. It is a five minute activity for the students to engage in at the beginning of class. It can tie in the previous day's learning, or evoke new questions about the lesson at hand. The procedure or agenda is next. This is like an outline of what direction the lesson will take and it includes several questions for the students to address. Usually, a mini-lesson is recommended that is no more than 10 or 15 minutes, followed by some type of activity--individual or group if you follow the workshop model. At the end, there should be a summary or wrap-up. An exit question that can be collected will alert the teacher as to who understood the content and who needs additional help. It is an excellent source of data and immediate feedback.
Backwards planning is a critical strategy in lesson planning design. Before you outline the procedures of your lesson, determine what skill or concept you want your students to master during your instruction. Determine how you are planning to assess your students before you structure the lesson. Teaching points should be determined based on your students' needs, State Standards, or data collection from pre-tests or prior assessments.
Design your lesson around the gradual release of responsibility framework. This "I do, we do, you do" design can be spread over the course of several lessons if needed.
When outlining your lesson, be sure to list the State Standards being taught, time-frame required for the lesson, and materials needed. Next, describe the Essential Question or focus skill for the lesson, also known as your learning objective. This should always be written in an observable and measurable statement. For example: Students will be able to solve a numeric expression using the order of operations. Your objective should follow a stem+verb+outcome structure. When choosing your verb for the learning objective, avoid using "understand" and "comprehend" as these are not directly observable.
Next, specify the detailed procedures of your lesson based on the gradual release of responsibility framework. Begin with a brief attention getter to engage your students in the lesson, such as a read aloud, question/conversation starter, or prop. This really depends on the age group of your students. Then, begin your lesson with a 10-15 modeled portion, where you demonstrate the skill or concept you are teaching. This is the instructor-oriented portion of your lesson. Next, students should be provided with a shared learning opportunity to practice the skill or strategy within a small-group or partnered setting (homogenous or heterogenous groupings offer differentiated instruction opportunities). Finally, students should practice the objective in an independent learning activity.
Finally, describe how you will Assess student mastery of the concepts taught in this lesson. Informal assessments such as anecdotal records, class hand signals (thumbs up/down, 1-5 fingers) provide immediate feedback to the teacher so he/she can modify instruction immediately. Formal assessments such as paper/pencil, final product, performance, or portfolios allow for data collection. Exceptional assessments often enable students to collaborate with the instructor on assessment criteria (such as student/teacher created rubric).
Exceptional lesson plans might include reteach mini-lessons (5-10) minutes for students who are not mastering the skill based on informal assessments, and ESOL modifications for English Language Learners.
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