Learning how to plan a lesson is a hugely important part of teaching. An effective lesson plan functions as a guide for both educators and students, detailing what is to be learned, how it will be taught, and how you’ll assess whether your objectives were met.
Becoming a successful lesson planner takes time, experience and practice. It involves developing tried-and-tested methods, learning how to keep your students engaged and tailoring your teaching methods to their needs. Read on to learn our top tips on planning engaging, creative and successful lessons, and the benefits of using a teacher lesson planner.
Learning objectives should act as your guide when creating lesson plans, allowing you to craft activities and topics around them. When defining your aims, ensure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. They should align with the curriculum and specify what the students should know or be able to do by the end of the lesson.
Consider how you will measure whether these objectives have been met. For example, this might involve formative assessments, such as quizzes, or homework assignments. This will help you to track your students’ process and encourage a growth mindset.
No two students are the same, and understanding this is the cornerstone of lesson planning. A classroom is a melting pot of diverse learning styles, such as:
- Kinesthetic learners, who thrive with hands-on activities
- Auditory learners, who benefit from listening to and discussing material aloud
- Visual learners, who do best with diagrams, pictures and written instructions
Recognising these differences can help you to tailor your teaching approach and activities to meet each student’s unique needs. A great lesson plan caters to this variety, ensuring that every student’s learning style is accounted for.
To facilitate a smooth transition between different topics and reinforce knowledge retention, build on what your students have previously learned. Try to help your students understand how something that was covered in a previous lesson relates to what they’re learning today.
Revising prior material and linking it to new concepts is one of the best ways to help students consolidate their understanding and see the ‘bigger picture’. It can also help your students grasp how certain topics or skills can be applied to different areas.
Part of learning how to write a lesson plan involves being proactive by preparing your teaching resources ahead of time. This may include:
- Textbook excerpts
- Links to online content, such as helpful websites and videos
Using a weekly lesson planner for teachers can help you ensure you have everything ready in advance. Remember, an organised teacher is a successful teacher.
The structure of your lesson can have a significant impact on its effectiveness. Start with an introduction to the topic that piques interest and anticipation – consider what will motivate your students to want to learn more.
During the lesson, maintain student engagement with a variety of activities and provide clear instruction. Finally, conclude the lesson with a summary and a teaser of the next topic to keep students curious and excited about learning.
Some students might resonate more with certain types of lessons than others. So, while it’s good to have structure, it’s important not to rely on a rigid lesson planner template that doesn’t allow for any variation.
Having a diverse range of activities planned means you can easily swap out a task if students aren’t engaging with it. Your ‘plan B’ should include various activities that you can adjust to suit your students’ evolving needs. It could be as simple as breaking a long lecture into shorter interactive segments, or incorporating group work activities.
Just as crucial as the lesson itself, incorporating time for review and feedback helps gauge the success of your teaching and reinforce the lesson objectives.
Make sure to dedicate some time for discussions and reflection at the end of each lesson. Recap what has been learned and offer students an opportunity to ask questions. This will not only give them an opportunity to digest the material but also provide you with valuable insight into the effectiveness of your teaching methods.
Teacher planners are invaluable tools that can transform your lesson planning process. They provide an effective platform for you to brainstorm ideas, plan your lessons and stay organised in every aspect of your work.
Penstripe’s high-quality planners for teachers are more than just lesson planners. They come with a range of useful pages to help you track student progress, record meetings and more. Whether you’re looking for a 5, 9 or 6-lesson teacher planner, or even a bespoke teacher planner for your school, we can help.
Olaf Surtees has been with Penstripe for ten years; what he doesn’t know about teacher planners, student planners, and lesson planners isn’t worth knowing! He’s in charge of creating our blog content, helping teachers and administrators with helpful hints and tips, as well as our socials — see the links below to find out more.