Elements of a Good Lesson Plan

Teacherwithbooks There are many approaches to lesson planning. Some spend hours researching and preparing for a lesson, while others spend minutes. Well-planned instruction starts with a solid lesson plan. Include these elements when planning to create a lesson that engages students!


Every lesson you create needs an objective statement. An objective is a simple statement that tells what students will know at the end of a lesson. The objective is an important element to your lesson. It clearly states a goal for students to learn. It is easy to think that this the hardest part of planning, but in reality it is not. The trick is to keep this statement simple. It is what students need to know at the end of the lesson. Just state what students will learn during instruction. An example of this is “Students will master addition and subtraction of whole numbers.” This statement clearly states a goal students will meet.


Poorly written objective statements are unclear and can be confusing. An example of a poor objective is, “Instruction of addition and subtraction of whole numbers.” This statement does not explain what will be taught. It does state what students will learn. The reader must assume what is the goal students will meet at the end of the lesson. Clear objectives easily explain the goal of a lesson.

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TeacherwithElementaryKids2A warm-up is an introduction to the lesson. It is designed to have students rely on prior knowledge to connect it to the information that you will teach in the lesson. The warm-up gets students ready for instruction. Your warm-up should take less than five minutes, involve little or no materials and include less than five steps to complete. It is not something that involves a lot of preparation or involves a lot of time. Excellent warm-ups are simple and engage students.

They may include a discussion or ask a student to come to the board to complete work with the class. For example, if your lesson is about addition and subtraction of numbers greater than ten, your warm-up can be an activity that forces students to recall knowledge of addition and subtraction of numbers less than ten. The point of a warm-up is to engage students and get them ready for instruction.

Lesson Explanation

Lesson explanation provides instruction to students that will help them meet the objective. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn. The lesson explanation is taught in two steps. Step one includes an explanation of the concept. For example, if you are teaching students addition and subtraction, explain to them how to add and subtract.

Do not expect the students to do more than listen in step one. Step two is guided practice. Students practice the content learned in step one with your guidance. If you explained how to add and subtract in section one; section two has an activity where the entire class practices together. This step is still part of the explanation as you provide help as students learn.


Sample from the educational version of "One-armed Bandit"


Every lesson needs an activity. An activity lets students apply their learning while the instructor can assess students’ knowledge of information. Activities in lessons can vary. Consider activities that engage and allow students a ‘break’ from instruction. Depending on the information you are teaching this section may include an art project, journal prompt, role-play scenario or worksheets.

All of these examples serve as assessments for the instructor. To consider these activities as assessments look at how the student completes the task. If the student meets the lesson objective while completing the activity then they know the material from the lesson. If they do not meet the lesson objective when completing the activity then the student needs to review.

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Consider the activity portion of the lesson a chance to see how well students the instruction. If they struggle significantly then consider reviewing the lesson explanation. If they meet the objective the student is ready to move on. Be creative as you plan your lesson. Give yourself a couple of ways to complete tasks in the lesson, so it is easy to adapt instruction to meet all learning styles. List the materials needed for the lesson at the beginning. Lessons are a guide to instruction and remain flexible as students learn. The point of a lesson is for students to gain knowledge. Apply these elements in your next lesson to make planning easy.

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