It doesn't matter what your lesson plan is about. What really matters is how you present the lesson to your students and how they receive the information. An effective lesson plan is determined by student outcomes and if they retain the information provided in the lesson.
First Things First...BEHAVIOR!
- Make sure that your classroom procedures are very clear and precise and show somewhere in the room. There is no use starting your lesson plan and expecting students to be engaged when behavior and discipline is not under the control of the teacher.
- Directions for the lesson need to be very clear before the lesson begins. Students need to know what to expect from you as the teacher and they need to know what you expect of them.
- Lesson Plan Stage 1: Pre-Lesson - During the pre-lesson, let students know WHAT they will be learning and WHY they will be learning this new information. Go ahead, write it on the board. Show students exactly what they are about to learn. No sense in keeping it a secret. Also, let them know what is going to happen AFTER the lesson. (This will prepare them for Stage 3 and 4.) In order for students to be fully engaged in the lesson, they must have a sense of purpose and meaning. We see this in learning a new language. Most of us took Spanish or some language in high school for two year and can't remember much. Throw us in Spain for two weeks with a purpose and meaning to learn the language and we will be sure to retain much information.
- Lesson Plan Stage 2: Lesson - The lesson must be started with basic knowledge, background knowledge, or a reminder of what was learned the day before. Then, move to higher level thinking. As you are presenting the new information to the students, it is ESSENTIAL that you are excited about it! When I am teaching a lesson, I make it my duty to walk around the class while talking, bending down and getting in kids faces to pump them up, and just making learning fun! Many times I would talk in a made-up voice or character, or turned a statement or sentence into a little song or jingle...even if it didn't rhyme. The kids loved it!
- Lesson Plan Stage 3: Post-Lesson - Make sure during Lesson Plan Stage 1, you let students know that there would be a whole group/small group activity to practice the new skill. During the post-lesson, students should be working independently or with a small group to solve problems or practice the skill that was just taught. Be sure to give students CLEAR directions about these follow up assignments, including what they should do when they are finished. (Hand it in, show the teacher, work on something else)
- Lesson Plan Stage 4: Post-Post-Lesson - Yes...a post-post-lesson. There will always be at least one student who will always finish the classwork really fast. You need to be prepared for this if you want to create the perfect lesson plan. Before the lesson begins, during stage 1, just make sure students know what they should do when the lesson is over, and they have finished the classwork. As a teacher, you could have a list on the board of options that they could choose from. (Read a Book for AR, Write in their journal, Do other homework, etc) It is important though that you don't encourage getting done fast. If students have the option to play games on the computer when they are finished, they will just speed through it.
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