Writing the perfect lesson plan can feel like a daunting task. Overall, lesson plans are used to help organize your thoughts and procedures for any particular lesson. Some school districts may request formal lesson plans in order to keep track of your curriculum, your organizational skills, and so on and so forth. In this case, they may have a layout that they would like you to follow, in which case you may want to disregard the following.
Like most other documents, you are going to want to start with the basics. This means adding your name, the age group the lesson is intended for, and a title. I tend to add a few pictures as well, but this is typically optional. Additionally, you will want to include a list of materials, resources, new vocabulary and motivational elements such as handouts, PowerPoints, or in my case fortune cookies.
On this example lesson, you may be asking yourself what a National Core Art Standard is. These are a set of standards for visual arts teachers that can help you assess qualitative data such as a piece of art. I've added this because some people find them extremely helpful, while others think they are essentially useless. It's completely up to you if you want to include them.
Once you have conquered the basics you will want to write the project summary, and learning context. Here you want to keep it short, sweet and to the point - what are you teaching and what is your reasoning for teaching it?
You will also want to include an enduring understanding and essential questions. This is pretty straight forward. The enduring understanding outlines the overarching learning goal, and the essential questions should be things that the students will be able to answer after the lesson.
This is the part of the lesson plan where you are going to want to put some thought into. Your skills objectives should be concise, specific, and cover all of the things you want students to learn through the lesson. For example, instead of simply saying I want students to be able to make a collage, I have taken it further and said "Students will be able to demonstrate persistence in developing skills with various materials, methods, and approaches in creating works of art."
Equally as important as the skills objectives is the procedure and differentiated instruction. This is where you are going to write the step-by-step process that students will take part in during the lesson. Again, you want to be very specific, and write it so another teacher could come in, read the lesson, and know exactly what to do. Additionally this area of the plan will help you finalize and organize your ideas for facilitating the lesson.
The differentiated instruction section is used to plan out how you will alter the assignment in regards to personal interest, ability, and learning style. I try to allow students a significant amount of freedom to create something that they will be engaged in throughout the process. In addition to this, it is not uncommon to have students who have varying ability levels or special needs, so it is important to have a plan in the event you have a student who is unable to complete the assignment in its original form.
The last piece of the lesson plan is the assessment. In all of my lessons I include both formative and summative assessment types. This helps me break up the skills and behavior I am observing (formative) versus skills and behavior that I am grading (summative).
As previously mentioned there are many different ways to write a lesson plan. I encourage you to check your district policies before following any of my advice (I am no expert). This outline is one that I have found to work well for me, and I can only hope that it will work for others in the future. Please feel free to download my free template, and leave a comment with more helpful teacher tips!