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«  November 2014  »

Planning Effective lessons

In todays society education has a complete new meaning. It no longer judges students on how much and how quick they can memorize or how many marks they score. Its about gaining the skills to understand right from wrong and having the knowledge you need to progress and contribute positively towards the society you belong to. It helps students develop their prospective on the world around them and pushes them to think creatively and conceptually about all the subjects they study. Education helps student’s process the information they receive on a daily basis and draw conclusions and inference based on what they already know. It makes them independent learners, critical thinkers and future innovators.

As teachers we have an even bigger responsibility to bring forward these skills in our students and hence it’s important how we plan our lessons. As the requirement of the society has changed so should we change the way we educate our students. A good lesson starts with good planning. A lesson plan is a teacher’s roadmap to what he or she wants the students to achieve by the end of the lesson. A good lesson plan indicates how well you know your students. Lessons should be planned keeping in mind the strength and weakness of your students. Understanding the learning style of your students helps you plan appropriate tasks.

Types of learning styles

Auditory Learners; Hear

These types of learners learn better by hearing. Verbal explanation of concepts are best understood by such learners.

Visual learners: See

These types of learner learn best by seeing things. All kind of visual aids such as pictures, maps, graphs help better understanding of visual learners.

Kinesthetic Learners: Touch

Kinesthetic learners process information best through “hands on” activities. Doing the activity helps them remember best. This may include building models, practical’s, role play or writing down.

Most people learn best by a combination of two or three learning style but everyone is different hence our lessons need to have a combination of all learning styles. A successful lesson plan addresses and integrates these three key components:

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

Great teaching begins with great planning.

Characteristics of a great lesson

  • Clear instructions, explanation, timelines, expectation and assessment.
  • Interactive: hands on activities
  • Engaging and fun
  • Allow students to feel a sense of shared exploration and discovery.
  • Give students choices.
  • Break assignments into small chunks
  • Hands-on manipulative
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Make lesson relevant
  • Allow students to develop own questions to research
  • Integrate diverse teaching strategies
  • Talk at appropriate level

Lesson plans can be written while having clear goals in mind. What is it that you want the students to achieve.

Backward Planning: It’s thinking about assessment before deciding how you teach, planning instruction, what resources you will use and finally and most importantly….


A description of what the student will be able to do at the end of the lesson.

Warm up and introduction:

This can be a starter activity where you grab the attention of the students. It can also be used to identify todays objective. This activity provides interest and works as a motivational factor. Set the tone for the lesson connected to the objective. For example a question, a story, a saying, an activity, a discussion or create curiosity for the topic. 


  • What are the characteristics of the learners in the class?
  • What do the students already know and understand?
  • How do my students learn best?
  • What modifications in instruction might I need to make?

Procedure and presentation:

  • Sets up a step-by-step plan
  • Provides a quick review of previous learning
  • Provides specific activities to assist students in developing the new knowledge
  • Provides modeling of a new skill
    • A picture is worth a thousand words.
    • I hear, I see………..I do!

Learning activities:

  • Graphic organizers
  • Creative play
  • Peer presenting
  • Performances
  • Role playing
  • Debates
  • Game making
  • Projects
  • Cooperative groups
  • Inquiry learning
  • Direct instruction
  • Differentiation
  • Direct Instruction


  • Provide multiple learning activities
  • Guided practice (teacher controlled)
    • Use a variety of questioning strategies to determine the level of understanding
    • Journaling, conferencing
  • Independent practice
    • Practice may be differentiated
  • Build on success

The purpose of questioning


  • To interest, engage and challenge pupils;
  • To check on prior knowledge and understanding;
  • To stimulate recall, mobilizing existing knowledge
    and experience in order to create new understanding
    and meaning;
  • To focus pupils’ thinking on key concepts and issues;
  • To help pupils to extend their thinking from the concrete and factual to the analytical and evaluative;
  • To lead pupils through a planned sequence which progressively establishes key understandings;
  • To promote reasoning, problem solving, evaluation and the formulation of hypotheses; to promote pupils’ thinking about the way they have learned.
  • As a means of creating healthy learning tension

Use daily in questioning to develop higher order of thinking skills...critical thinking skills. Blooms Taxonomy is a great way to encourage higher level thinking skills.

Blooms Taxonomy



  • Lesson Wrap-up: Leave students with an imprint of what the lesson covered.
    • Students summarize the major concepts

         Displays internalized student knowledge

  • Teacher recaps the main points
  • Teacher sets the stage for the next phase of learning

Student evaluation

  • Assess the learning-Rubric
    • Teacher made test
    • In-class or homework assignment
    • Project to apply the learning in real-life situation
    • Recitations and summaries
    • Performance assessments
    • Use of rubrics
    • Portfolios
    • Journals
    • Informal assessment

Teacher reflection

  • What went well in the lesson?
  • What problems did I experience?
  • Are there things I could have done differently?
  • How can I build on this lesson to make future lessons successful?

“A teacher is one who brings us tools and enables us to use them.”

Jean Toomer

“The greater the structure of a lesson and the more precise the directions on what is to be accomplished, the higher the achievement rate.”

Harry Wong, The First Days of Teaching

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