How to Create a Lesson Plan
Lesson planning is essential to creating a classroom that is organized, developmentally appropriate, and supportive. For some, lesson planning can feel like a stressful or intimidating task considering the time and focus it takes. Here, we’ve broken the elements of planning down into manageable steps so that you can confidently plan for your students.
Different Types of Lesson Plans
A lesson plan is a set of instructions that introduces a theme or skill and provides structure to the daily or weekly schedule. When constructing a plan, it is good to consider the environment and overall goals of your program. A well-rounded lesson plan is one that considers the early childhood education competencies and the domains of child development: social-emotional, physical, language, and cognitive. This can also be extended out to: literacy, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, the arts, and English language acquisition. Just as the purpose of the plan can differ, so too can the type; there are different types of lesson plans available to satisfy your teaching objectives.
Detail Lesson Plan
- A detailed lesson plan (DLP) is exactly that, a detailed description of the exact steps to teach a specific topic. A DLP includes five parts of thorough explanation on, lesson topic, class objectives, procedure, time management and student practice.
Semi-detailed lesson plan
- This type of plan is still quite structured and identifies a focus but provides less specifics than a DLP. It could consist of a topic, objective, and student practice, but perhaps the procedures, or ways of teaching the topic, are a little less defined.
Understand by Design lesson plan
- Understand by design, or UbD, flips the other planning types by looking at the outcomes first and designing the plan backwards. Instead of identifying the specific topic, this one may look at the desired skill set or milestone first with procedures, time management, and student practice designed around that.
Lesson Plan Objectives
With a clear understanding of the types of plans one can write, you can begin to identify your objective, or intent. Consider this question, what will the student know or be able to do after this lesson? One good place to start in answering this is through the observation of your class. Look, listen, and note what is going on in the classroom at different times throughout the day. Analyze the observations and decide what they say about the children, what they need, how they learn, how they take in information and so on. It is from here, with a good grasp on the skills already being demonstrated and ones that need refined, that you can confidently begin to lesson plan.
Lesson Plan Structure
The lesson plan structure acts as a guide to ensure a complete and well-rounded plan. As it’s becoming clear that lesson planning starts with asking lots of questions, here are some good ones to start the outline:
- Lesson topic- What will be taught?
- Objective- What will be gained?
- Procedure- How will the topic be explained?
- Time management- How will you be intentional with time?
- Student practice- How will students engage with the topic?
How to Write a Lesson Plan
With the direction that an outline provides, all that’s left now is the writing of the plan. And even though you’ve come so far, the writing may feel like the most challenging part! Let’s review a few things to ease the challenge a bit:
- Know your style- Planning can take quite a bit of time so it’s important to schedule for it. It is equally important to know when you write best, think creatively, and can gather all your supplies.
- Start from a place of observation- Through self, group play and everyday interactions the children in your class are showing you what they are capable of. This is a great place to start when deciding what skills to teach.
- Set long term, age-appropriate goals- From the observations comes an awareness of skills to teach; consider what you would like your students to know, what they need to know for school and skills they should exhibit at the end of the year. Is it counting and color recognition? Is it practicing empathy?
- Determine engaging activities- The activities should be growth oriented. For example, if the goal is fine motor skills, or analysis and reasoning, the activity should introduce and reiterate those skills.
- Vary the method-Multiple modalities, or ways of teaching, can be used to demonstrate the topic at hand. One theme can be introduced in a variety of ways like role playing, embedding it into center times, story-repetition, puppets, engaging in open dialogue, and offering real life examples for further illustration.
- Assess how it’s going- Observation will once again tell you what you need to know. Keep a keen eye on the classroom to see how students are starting to utilize their new skills in their everyday actions.
Happy writing! At the end of the day a lesson plan can give you confidence knowing that you’ve engaged with your young students in meaningful and constructive ways, and while it may take practice, being intentional is key!
Keep an eye on the QSSB training calendar for upcoming sessions on lesson planning and more.