How do I prepare a new lesson?How do I prepare a new lesson?

Expert Answers
kristenfusaro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best way to begin writing a lesson is by determining the end of your lesson. This model is identified as the "Backwards Design" model.

1. What do I want my students to learn? This creates the "Aim" or "Objective" of the day. Make sure that this aim is S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). Don't use words like "understand," but instead words like "identify" or "synthesize" (etc.) -- words that clearly state the skill the student will develop from this lesson.

2. Create a "Do Now" or "Bellringer" activity that motivates and excites the students about what the lesson will be on for the day. For example, some associated vocabulary -- have them play pictionary with the vocab. Gets them interested and gives you time to take attendance, collect HW, etc.

3. Give students some time to share the Do Now out loud or to partners, then have them determine what might be learned for the day.

4. Give the mini lesson of whatever the skill is. Be sure this does not exceed about 10 minutes. Teach the skill. Provide examples of the skill in practice. Have them practice with you. Quickly check for understanding.

5. Provide a group work activity that asks the students to utilize the specific skill learned for the day (and depending on the level of student, you can raise this to have them incorporate past skills, or provide extra emphasis for ELLs or students with special needs.) During this time, walk around to the groups to provide specific instruction and demonstration as needed.

6. Share time. Have the groups share, but also require that the other groups comment and question the presenting group -- holding all students accountable all the time.

7. Address the aim (with assessment). This can be as a whole group discussion, or a "Ticket Out" (depending on how you felt students grasped the concept).

8. If necessary, provide meaningful homework that practices the skill.

9. Reflect -- Did the lesson go as planned? Why/ why not? Do some things need reteaching, or was it too easy? Etc.

ktmagalia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First and foremost you must ask yourself the purpose of the lesson.  Why is it that you are teaching the material, and why should students actively participate in this lesson?  After you articulate your purpose, consider your audience, content of the lesson, and your timing.  How much time you have and the ability and interest of your audience dictates the kind of lesson you present.  Open with a creative description of your purpose and intent.  Explain to your audience what they will expect during and at the completion.  Be sure to include an activity to engage active participation and learning, and be sure to end with an assessment of sorts (this could be informal or formal).  It's always rewarding and informative to request and "exit ticket" from each participant before leaving.  Ask a pertinent question to your audience, somehow connected to your intended learning outcome, and collect responses at the end of the lesson.  This will give you immediate feedback and a means to follow up or clarify the following day.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first step is definitely to pick your objectives.  Decide, as the first answer says, what your students should know after the lesson is over.

The second step is to pick a variety of ways to get your information across.  When you are doing this, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

  • Make sure your methods of instruction are age-appropriate.  Don't plan a one hour lecture to 8 year-olds.
  • Try to have a variety of methods mixed together a bit to prevent your students from having to do the same thing all class long.  (The younger the students the more important).  If you lecture, break it up with questions, short writing assignments, etc.
  • Be sure that everything you do is oriented towards the objectives you have set.

Third, plan how you will assess the value of your lesson.

  • Make sure you only assess things you actually taught.
  • Try to do some assessment as the lesson goes along.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many steps in preparing an effective lesson and you will find a variety of approaches to such a task.  I would suggest that a critical component in this is the idea of identifying what you want the kids to know at the end of the lesson. What are the essential points that they have to get in order for the lesson to be deemed effective?  Identify these and work backwards.  Another element in this process is determining how they will be assessed in the understanding of these points.  Constructing a lesson in accordance to both these elements, ensuring that comprehension and assessment are connected to one another, will be critical in ensuring that students have a better understanding of what a lesson is and will help a teacher amplify the instruction.  Another component in this process is determining the method of instruction, which should be one that maximizes both teacher comfort and understanding the critical points of the lesson.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That is a good and honest question. As a teacher, I would say that the most important point in preparing a lesson is to have a clear goal of the objective of the class. If this is not clear to you, then it will not be clear to your students. So, I would say be very clear of your main point. Second, also think of several ways by which you hope to accomplish your goal. In other words, what evidence can you marshal to prove and illustrate your point.Depending on the age of the students, you will want to give appropriate supports.

Let me give you an example. If your goal is to teach the the difference between the various uses of the ablative case in Latin, then you should be very clear about this. You should also have several examples of this as well as. You should also probably anticipate some of the problems that they will face and finally have them try it.

emk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This isn't exactly an "education 101" type answer, but how about a little empathy?  Take a little while to reflect on your own best and worst experiences as a student and try to create a lesson for your students that they will find interesting and engaging as well as educational.  If you can connect with your students they'll be much more open to what content you're trying to offer to them.

lakshmiprasad | Student

In addition to what all others wrote about how and what about lesson plans, one thing that is all the more important is to add an answer to the question, "why the students should learn what you teach?" Don't give an answer of the sort that they should learn something to get good grade. You sould search for answers sch as that they would be able to appreciate something in their real life. In some cases, I know, it would be a virtual art to find an answer to such a question and convince the learners. Nevertheless, if we do that, it would kindle the interest in them and the level of their reception of what you teach would definitely increase. 

shroyer | Student

Ok, I have been there.  Here is my advice (now a few years experienced) to make it easy.

Engage for 5-10 minutes - I like to play a song and pass out the lyrics.  Lead a discussion about how the lyrics relate to whatever you are talking about.  Using movie clips works well too.  If you are hard-up for these kinds of things (or it just doesn't fit with what you are doing) lable the corners of the room with A,B,C,D and ask a fun, discussion spawning multiple choice question (open ended, for instance..."do you think that such and such a character meant it when they said..." A definitely, B somewhat C no way D I didn't understand that...ect) and have the kids move to a corner which best goes with their thinking.

Next - mini lesson - you teach some concept, model some concept, or read (I am an English teacher, so we do lots of that).

Next - have them participate in what you teach. (Have them come up to the board, or ask questions that show you if the kids understand.  Check for understanding by having the kids rank their understanding thumbs up to thumbs down range.  Explain further for those that don't understand.

Next - give them something which allows them to practice

Next - go over answers and take questions

Overall try the three pronged approach, esentially, do three things in a period to keep them awake and learning.

Hope this helps...

dcteacher | Student

The way to prepare a new lesson is first decide what you are going to teach. Next, figure out a "hook" or something interesting to students that will draw them into whatever it is you are teaching. Then find out what they know about subject of the lesson and draw on their past background or experiences to connect the lesson to their own experiences. Finally , make the lesson interesting , with more than one way to teach it. Don't be completely teacher centered or student centered. Find the right combination of outlets for learning. For example, when teaching about probability you might consider having the students play Yahtzee or something of that nature to "draw them in ". Learning vocabulary for ELL students, you should include visuals if you can. Reading something? Have the students write , read back to you what they wrote and then later with the lesson apply what they have learned. At the end of the lesson and throughout the lesson you always want to check if the students are understanding what you are teaching them. And then with any good lesson, summarize at the end what they should have learned and give a quick quiz.

frizzle1 | Student

Always start with the end in mind!  What is it that you want the students to be able to do?  Be as specific as you can and be sure that your objective is inline with your standards.  Example:  Students will write complete sentences. Now think of how you will know if they can do it?  How will you assess their performance.  Example:  THe students will create 2 complete sentences of their own. 

Now think about how you can model the concept for them and include student input. Try to make it at least a little bit funny and include their input.  This can be done by brainstorming.   For example:  Give them a funny photograph to look at and solicit ideas about what they are seeing.  Write a few of them down, being careful not to have complete sentences.  Then tell them we are going to write a sentence, but it will only be complete when it tells who or what the sentence is about and what that someone did. 

Model, Then let them try.  Listen to some examples and put them up for all to see.  Together decide if they are or are not complete thoughts?  Lots of kid input here.

Then give them a new picture.  Have them tell a neighbor two sentences they can say about the new picture.  This is called oral rehearsal and is critical.  Then they get a chance to write. 

The gradual release model for lesson design calls this:

I do, you watch

I do, you help

You do, I help

You do, I watch.

robin1211 | Student

Either work backwards from the test you plan to give at the end of a unit, or take your state required knowledge and skills and build on them.

tadavis | Student

I assume that you have never written a lesson plan before.  Each lesson plan should contain several items. They are objective, procedures and strategies, materials and closure. I include time and activities in mine under the category of procedures and strategies.   Your objective is self-explanatory, but you might include the Standard Of Learning that you will be covering with your objective.  SOL is what the standards are called in Virginia. Ohio calls it Content Competency Standards.  I always include a warm-up activity so that I can take role and do the secretarial things that need to take place at the beginning of class.  Your lesson should include various modes of learning for the diversity of learning styles that you will find in your class. You should list the materials that you will need to teach your lesson. Finally, closure wraps up the lesson for the student.  It’s a mini-review of the material you covered in this lesson. I also have a section on my form where I write how the lesson went. Do I need to change something? Do I need to add something?  Was it a success? I also suggest that you over-plan. There is nothing worse than finishing the lesson and still having lots of time before the block or period is over.  It’s a good way to lose complete control of your class. I hope this helps and good luck.

lakac1971 | Student

Determining how to begin a lesson is a wonderful question! There are several different ways to begin a lesson but I would first determine whom your audience is. By this I mean are you creating a lesson for children or adults? After this is determined I would then determine exit skills needed for the lesson and additionally what skills are already present. Make sure that you have several activities present to reach the varying types of learners who will be in your audience. Make sure there is a intro to the lesson, quick maybe five minutes or so. The body of the lesson and then another quick wrap up to review the lesson.

kimmc0812 | Student

Always begin with an objective and kow what you want the end product to be. Depending on where you are teaching, most states have state standards that must be followed.  Usually these standards are broken down into benchmarks with specific ones assigned to each grade level.

Once you have focused in on an objective, you will want to do a rough outline and determine how many days you will be devotin to the objective.  Do some research on your topic and look for community resources that may be available to you.  Check with your school media center to gather literature resources. 

Now you are ready to lay out the timeline of your lessons.