What Is a Lesson Plan?

So what is a lesson plan anyway? If you're a relatively new teacher or someone who is thinking about becoming one, you've probably heard the term and you may even have a vague idea of what it is, however you may also have misconceptions as well. First, let's talk about what a lesson plan is not.

A test - While there may be questions on it, the questions are meant to elicit responses from your students. They aren't meant to test knowledge - after all, they haven't learned anything yet.

A homework assignment - Again, this may be part of a lesson plan. In fact, as you'll see as you learn more about them, this is a vital part of any good lesson plan, but a homework sheet by itself is not a lesson plan either.

An exact document - Probably the most common mistake that new teachers make when they try to write their first lesson plan is that they assume it should have some kind of exact formula. This is reminiscent of a book that was once put out providing "lesson plans" for Jewish studies. The book had specific questions to ask. Then it would say, "The person you are speaking to will say this in response." It was laughable because it was so wildly inaccurate in the real world, but the author honestly believed what they were writing was not only accurate but helpful.

A lesson plan is:

-A well thought out document. It takes time to write a good lesson plan and any teacher who tries to throw something together a few minutes before class is just asking for trouble.

-A guide, but only a guide. A good lesson plan gives you rough outlines of how a lesson in your classroom should go. It suggests ways of approaching the problem of teaching students about a particular subject and allows for enough flexibility to give the teacher the chance to make up her own mind about what to use and not to use.

-A fairly detailed document. A good lesson plan will also include a lot of details, including information on possible problems and possible solutions that may come up during the course of a lesson. It also has step by step instructions to show what to teach and when.

Someone out there is probably saying to themselves right now, okay, so I get the basics of what a lesson plan is and isn't, but could you show me the details? Absolutely! In short, a lesson plan consists of five main parts. These will be explained in more detail in future articles, but in short they are: "

Aim: The title of your lesson plan, usually in the form of a question, such as "What was the war of 1812?"

Motivation: Something to get the students excited. It could be a question, for example, "How would you feel if someone invaded the country and burned down the White House?"

Plan: Step by step instructions to introduce the subject.

Homework or Independent Work: This one is pretty self explanatory.

Follow up: What will you do in a future lesson to re-enforce the lesson?