Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning (2024)

Stiliana Milkova
Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

A lesson plan is the instructor’s road map of what students need to learn and how it will be done effectively during the class time. Before you plan your lesson, you will first need to identify the learning objectives for the class meeting. Then, you can design appropriate learning activities and develop strategies to obtain feedback on student learning. A successful lesson plan addresses and integrates these three key components:

  • Objectives for student learning
  • Teaching/learning activities
  • Strategies to check student understanding

Specifying concrete objectives for student learning will help you determine the kinds of teaching and learning activities you will use in class, while those activities will define how you will check whether the learning objectives have been accomplished (see Fig. 1).

Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning (1)

Steps for Preparing a Lesson Plan

Below are six steps to guide you when you create your first lesson plans. Each step is accompanied by a set of questions meant to prompt reflection and aid you in designing your teaching and learning activities.

(1) Outline learning objectives

The first step is to determine what you want students to learn and be able to do at the end of class. To help you specify your objectives for student learning, answer the following questions:

  • What is the topic of the lesson?
  • What do I want students to learn?
  • What do I want them to understand and be able to do at the end of class?
  • What do I want them to take away from this particular lesson?

Once you outline the learning objectives for the class meeting, rank them in terms of their importance. This step will prepare you for managing class time and accomplishing the more important learning objectives in case you are pressed for time. Consider the following questions:

  • What are the most important concepts, ideas, or skills I want students to be able to grasp and apply?
  • Why are they important?
  • If I ran out of time, which ones could not be omitted?
  • And conversely, which ones could I skip if pressed for time?

(2) Develop the introduction

Now that you have your learning objectives in order of their importance, design the specific activities you will use to get students to understand and apply what they have learned. Because you will have a diverse body of students with different academic and personal experiences, they may already be familiar with the topic. That is why you might start with a question or activity to gauge students’ knowledge of the subject or possibly, their preconceived notions about it. For example, you can take a simple poll: “How many of you have heard of X? Raise your hand if you have.” You can also gather background information from your students prior to class by sending students an electronic survey or asking them to write comments on index cards. This additional information can help shape your introduction, learning activities, etc. When you have an idea of the students’ familiarity with the topic, you will also have a sense of what to focus on.

Develop a creative introduction to the topic to stimulate interest and encourage thinking. You can use a variety of approaches to engage students (e.g., personal anecdote, historical event, thought-provoking dilemma, real-world example, short video clip, practical application, probing question, etc.). Consider the following questions when planning your introduction:

  • How will I check whether students know anything about the topic or have any preconceived notions about it?
  • What are some commonly held ideas (or possibly misconceptions) about this topic that students might be familiar with or might espouse?
  • What will I do to introduce the topic?

(3) Plan the specific learning activities (the main body of the lesson)

Prepare several different ways of explaining the material (real-life examples, analogies, visuals, etc.) to catch the attention of more students and appeal to different learning styles. As you plan your examples and activities, estimate how much time you will spend on each. Build in time for extended explanation or discussion, but also be prepared to move on quickly to different applications or problems, and to identify strategies that check for understanding. These questions would help you design the learning activities you will use:

  • What will I do to explain the topic?
  • What will I do to illustrate the topic in a different way?
  • How can I engage students in the topic?
  • What are some relevant real-life examples, analogies, or situations that can help students understand the topic?
  • What will students need to do to help them understand the topic better?

(4) Plan to check for understanding

Now that you have explained the topic and illustrated it with different examples, you need to check for student understanding – how will you know that students are learning? Think about specific questions you can ask students in order to check for understanding, write them down, and then paraphrase them so that you are prepared to ask the questions in different ways. Try to predict the answers your questions will generate. Decide on whether you want students to respond orally or in writing. You can look at Strategies to Extend Student Thinking, http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/P4_4.php to help you generate some ideas and you can also ask yourself these questions:

  • What questions will I ask students to check for understanding?
  • What will I have students do to demonstrate that they are following?
  • Going back to my list of learning objectives, what activity can I have students do to check whether each of those has been accomplished?


An important strategy that will also help you with time management is to anticipate students’ questions. When planning your lesson, decide what kinds of questions will be productive for discussion and what questions might sidetrack the class. Think about and decide on the balance between covering content (accomplishing your learning objectives) and ensuring that students understand.

(5) Develop a conclusion and a preview

Go over the material covered in class by summarizing the main points of the lesson. You can do this in a number of ways: you can state the main points yourself (“Today we talked about…”), you can ask a student to help you summarize them, or you can even ask all students to write down on a piece of paper what they think were the main points of the lesson. You can review the students’ answers to gauge their understanding of the topic and then explain anything unclear the following class. Conclude the lesson not only by summarizing the main points, but also by previewing the next lesson. How does the topic relate to the one that’s coming? This preview will spur students’ interest and help them connect the different ideas within a larger context.

(6) Create a realistic timeline

GSIs know how easy it is to run out of time and not cover all of the many points they had planned to cover. A list of ten learning objectives is not realistic, so narrow down your list to the two or three key concepts, ideas, or skills you want students to learn. Instructors also agree that they often need to adjust their lesson plan during class depending on what the students need. Your list of prioritized learning objectives will help you make decisions on the spot and adjust your lesson plan as needed. Having additional examples or alternative activities will also allow you to be flexible. A realistic timeline will reflect your flexibility and readiness to adapt to the specific classroom environment. Here are some strategies for creating a realistic timeline:

  • Estimate how much time each of the activities will take, then plan some extra time for each
  • When you prepare your lesson plan, next to each activity indicate how much time you expect it will take
  • Plan a few minutes at the end of class to answer any remaining questions and to sum up key points
  • Plan an extra activity or discussion question in case you have time left
  • Be flexible – be ready to adjust your lesson plan to students’ needs and focus on what seems to be more productive rather than sticking to your original plan

Presenting the Lesson Plan

Letting your students know what they will be learning and doing in class will help keep them more engaged and on track. You can share your lesson plan by writing a brief agenda on the board or telling students explicitly what they will be learning and doing in class. You can outline on the board or on a handout the learning objectives for the class. Providing a meaningful organization of the class time can help students not only remember better, but also follow your presentation and understand the rationale behind in-class activities. Having a clearly visible agenda (e.g., on the board) will also help you and students stay on track.

Reflecting on Your Lesson Plan

A lesson plan may not work as well as you had expected due to a number of extraneous circumstances. You should not get discouraged – it happens to even the most experienced teachers! Take a few minutes after each class to reflect on what worked well and why, and what you could have done differently. Identifying successful and less successful organization of class time and activities would make it easier to adjust to the contingencies of the classroom. For additional feedback on planning and managing class time, you can use the following resources: student feedback, peer observation, viewing a videotape of your teaching, and consultation with a staff member at CRLT (see also, Improving Your Teaching: Obtaining Feedback, http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/P9_1.php and Early Feedback Form, http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/earlyfeedback.pdf).

Conclusion

To be effective, the lesson plan does not have to be an exhaustive document that describes each and every possible classroom scenario. Nor does it have to anticipate each and every student’s response or question. Instead, it should provide you with a general outline of your teaching goals, learning objectives, and means to accomplish them. It is a reminder of what you want to do and how you want to do it. A productive lesson is not one in which everything goes exactly as planned, but one in which both students and instructors learn from each other.

Additional Resources

Online:

Video clips of GSIs at the University of Michigan actively engaging students in a practice teaching session:https://crlte.engin.umich.edu/engineering-gsi-videos/

Plan the First Day's Session: How to create to a lesson plan for the first day of class:http://gsi.berkeley.edu/gsi-guide-contents/pre-semester-intro/first-day-plan/

References

Fink, D. L. (2005). Integrated course design. Manhattan, KS: The IDEA Center.
Retrieved from https://www.ideaedu.org/idea_papers/integrated-course-design/

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Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning (2024)

FAQs

What are some strategies for effective lesson planning? ›

Before Class: Steps for preparing a lesson plan
  • Identify the learning objectives. ...
  • Plan the specific learning activities. ...
  • Plan to assess student understanding. ...
  • Plan to sequence the lesson in an engaging and meaningful manner. ...
  • Create a realistic timeline. ...
  • Plan for a lesson closure.

What are the 5 important factors to consider when planning a lesson? ›

Here are our 5 things you need to know to create a great lesson plan:
  • Clear Goal/Objective. There is always something new for you to teach your students. ...
  • Anticipate Challenges. ...
  • Lesson Assessment. ...
  • Make it Relevant. ...
  • Practice Presenting.
May 1, 2015

What is the 4 as strategy in a lesson plan? ›

Choose a topic that you want the children in your class to learn and apply the 4-A's of activating prior knowledge, acquiring new knowledge, applying the knowledge, and assessing the knowledge.

What are the five 5 parts of an effective lesson plan? ›

A good lesson plan should include the following 5 components; lesson topic, class objectives, procedure, time management, and student practice.

What are the five essential teaching strategies to deliver effective lesson? ›

5 Essential Teaching Strategies to Deliver an Effective Lesson
  • Have an Objective. ...
  • Model Your Expectations. ...
  • Actively Engage Students. ...
  • Be Mobile. ...
  • Compliment Positive Behavior and Hard Work.
Sep 22, 2015

What are the key components of a good lesson plan? ›

6 components of a lesson plan
  • Objective. A lesson objective can be one of the most important components of a lesson plan. ...
  • Materials. If you prepare the materials ahead of the lesson, you may have more time to focus on teaching. ...
  • Background knowledge. ...
  • Direct instruction. ...
  • Guided teaching. ...
  • Closure and assessment.
Jun 24, 2022

What should a teacher consider when planning a lesson? ›

INSTRUCTIONAL PROCEDURES
  • Focusing event (something to get the students' attention)
  • Teaching procedures (methods you will use)
  • Formative check (progress checks throughout the lesson)
  • Student Participation (how you will get the students to. participate)
  • Closure (how you will end the lesson)

What makes a successful lesson? ›

Subject expertise and flair on the part of the teacher. The involvement of each and every student in the learning process. Expert use of questioning which probes understanding and teases out misconceptions. Challenging and imaginative tasks which will engage students and support the learning process.

What are the 7 C's lesson plan? ›

The 7Cs are: Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, information, and media literacy, Computing and ICT literacy, Cross-cultural understanding, and Career and learning self-reliance.

What are the 7 step lesson plans? ›

The basic lesson plan outline given below contains the direct instruction element: 1) objectives, 2) standards, 3) anticipatory set, 4) teaching [input, modeling, and check for understanding], 5) guided practice, 6) closure, and 7) independent practice.

What are the 4 C's teaching strategy? ›

The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond. Critical thinking is focused, careful analysis of something to better understand it.

What is the 6 E's lesson plan? ›

The 6E instruction model, as proposed by the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA), refers to Engage, Explore, Explain, Engineer, Enrich, and Evaluate [11], and the 6 steps are shown below: (1) Engage: it enhances students' curiosity, interest, and engagement.

What are the 4 P's of teaching? ›

The people, policies, practices, and patterns (i.e. four Ps) comprise the setting, or context, of educational change. In order to support thoughtful implementation of data-driven decision making, understanding and assessing the context are critical for leaders.

What are the 5 E's in lesson plan? ›

What are the 5Es? o The 5Es represent five stages of a sequence for teaching and learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate. personally involved in the lesson, while pre-assessing prior understanding.

What are the 5 steps in lesson planning process? ›

The five steps involved are the Anticipatory Set, Introduction of New Material, Guided Practice, Independent Practice and Closure.

What are the 3 key components of a lesson plan? ›

Key Elements of Lesson Plans

The three components that you should include in a lesson plan to ensure that it's solid and effective are: Learning objectives. Activities. Tools to check for understanding.

What 3 effective classroom management strategies are based on? ›

The five components of effective classroom management include developing behavioral standards, establishing working relationships with students, valuing your time as a teacher, familiarizing students with teaching methods, and anticipating student behavior.

What are two core teaching strategies? ›

Top 5 Teaching Strategies
  • Differentiated Instruction: Learning Stations. Differentiated instruction strategies allow teachers to engage each student by accommodating to their specific learning style. ...
  • Cooperative Learning: The Jigsaw Method. ...
  • Utilizing Technology in the Classroom. ...
  • Inquiry-Based Instruction. ...
  • Graphic Organizers.
Oct 3, 2019

What questions must the teacher answer before planning a lesson? ›

  • Who am I teaching?
  • What do students already know?
  • How can I make this work for everyone?
  • What materials will work best?
  • What are my students' roles?
  • Am I prepared?
  • How will I know what my students have learned, and how will they know what they have accomplished?
Oct 1, 2016

What were the best features for improvement of lesson plan? ›

Make your lesson plans relevant, engaging, and productive.
  • Start with the big picture. I believe that starting is the hardest part. ...
  • Don't rely on fluff. ...
  • Get creative about your resources. ...
  • Think backwards and relate the lesson plan to real life. ...
  • Get nontraditional.
Jan 1, 2018

What comes first in planning a lesson? ›

The first step to planning an effective lesson is to decide what skill you will teach using the Common Core or state standards specific to your content area and grade level. Then, identify the main learning objectives to focus on to develop that skill.

What are the 5 most important things that a successful lesson has? ›

The 5 key ingredients of a great lesson plan
  • Follow-up / recap.
  • Objective setting.
  • Introduce the new concepts.
  • Practice by doing.
  • Wrap-up.
Mar 24, 2022

What does a good lesson plan look like? ›

Your lesson plans don't have to be complicated or lengthy; they should only include information on what you're preparing, how you'll teach it, and what you want your students to achieve as part of the curriculum. Quality lessons tie prior knowledge and understanding and flow easily, connecting ideas and concepts.

What are the 8 components of a lesson plan? ›

8 elements of lesson plans
  • Grade level and subject. One of the first sections of a lesson is the grade level and subject of the lesson you're going to teach. ...
  • Type of lesson. This is a brief section that explains the type of lesson you're going to be teaching. ...
  • Duration. ...
  • Topic. ...
  • Objective. ...
  • Materials. ...
  • Directions. ...
  • Assessment.
Mar 10, 2023

What are the 6 co teaching strategies? ›

6 Models of Co-Teaching
  • One Teach, One Observe. ...
  • One Teach, One Assist. ...
  • Parallel Teaching. ...
  • Station Teaching. ...
  • Alternative Teaching. ...
  • Team Teaching.
Nov 21, 2022

What are the 4 C's in Montessori? ›

These include: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication; otherwise known as 'The Four C's.

What is the 4 C's organizer? ›

The 4 C's Visible Thinking Routine (Connections, Challenges, Concepts, and Changes) was developed in Harvard's Project Zero. This strategy is used to help students develop synthesizing and organizational skills.

What are the 6 strategies for effective teaching? ›

These six strategies for effective learning are based on evidence-based research and the science of learning. We will explore: spaced practice, retrieval practice, elaboration, concrete examples, dual coding and interleaving.

What are teaching strategies in a lesson plan? ›

Teaching strategies are methods and techniques that a teacher will use to support their pupils or students through the learning process; a teacher will chose the teaching strategy most suitable to the topic being studied, the level of expertise of the learner, and the stage in their learning journey.

What kinds of strategies are most effective within your classroom? ›

Try these effective classroom management strategies with your students to become a happier, more effective teacher.
  • Model ideal behavior. ...
  • Let students help establish guidelines. ...
  • Document rules. ...
  • Avoid punishing the class. ...
  • Encourage initiative. ...
  • Offer praise. ...
  • Use non-verbal communication. ...
  • Hold parties.
Dec 23, 2021

What are the 7 effective teaching strategies for the classroom? ›

Every teacher's classroom practice is unique, so here are 7 effective teaching strategies you can use for inspiration to give your students a fulfilling learning experience.
  • Visualization. ...
  • Cooperative Learning. ...
  • Differentiated Instruction. ...
  • Using Technology to your Advantage. ...
  • Student Centred Inquiry. ...
  • Professional Development.
Mar 14, 2023

What are the 4 C's teaching strategies? ›

The 21st century learning skills are often called the 4 C's: critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating, and collaborating. These skills help students learn, and so they are vital to success in school and beyond. Critical thinking is focused, careful analysis of something to better understand it.

What are the core four effective teaching strategies? ›

Those four elements—flexible content and tools, targeted instruction, data-driven decisions and student reflection and ownership—are the Core Four of Personalized Learning.

What are the 4 basic elements of successful classroom management plans? ›

According to researchers, classroom management is a core strategy for effective teaching, four components of classroom management were identified and analyzed, which included: rules and regulations, disciplinary interventions, teacher-student interactions, and mental sets.

What are the 3 C's of classroom management? ›

As you consider some of your most challenging students or classes, think about your approach to classroom management through the lens of these three areas: connection, consistency, and compassion.

What are the 9 teaching strategies? ›

9 Teaching Strategies That Help Students Learn Effectively
  • Inquiry-Based Model.
  • Storyboarding.
  • Peer Tutoring and Assessment.
  • Brainstorming.
  • Reflections.
  • Student-Led Classes.
  • Visual Aids.
  • Interdisciplinary Approach.
Jan 10, 2021

What is the best method or strategies in teaching? ›

Strategies for Teaching
  • Effective Class Discussions. ...
  • Case-Based Learning. ...
  • Digital Learning. ...
  • Effective Lecturing. ...
  • Team-Based Learning. ...
  • Flipped Classroom. ...
  • Large Classes. ...
  • Group Work. Collaborative learning can be a powerful strategy in the classroom.

References

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