Are you a new teacher excitedly planning your first lesson plan? And you’re looking for the secret to write the ultimate lesson plan? A curriculum guide that continuously engages students and piques their curiosity–that lesson plan? Sorry to break it to you, there’s no such thing.
A lot of new teachers put a lot of effort into their lesson plans. Each lesson is crafted meticulously; every detail revised, fact-checked, corrected, and made accurate. When school season starts, they examine every detail of the plan with a fine-toothed comb. Exam day comes, and students get mediocre grades. One class suspension happens, and the whole lesson plan is in shambles.
Not all teachers can pull off a curriculum unit like what Robin Williams did in Dead Poets Society or Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man. Most of all, not every school system would approve of unconventional lesson plans and strategies. After all, the principal would need to know your approach and methodologies.
But how do you create a lesson plan that actually works?
Create. Adapt. Improvise.
First, have the endgoal in mind. What will the students learn? After that, it’s just paving the way to get there. Give yourself a wide berth while you’re at it. That way, you can adapt to whatever circumstances may occur. Class suspended due to inclement weather? Adjust your plan without cramming everything into one day. Students not understanding a difficult concept? Relate them to a real-world event. Improvise a way to get the discussion going.
Make learning interactive.
Students learn at very different wavelengths. Some kids learn better in a classroom-type setting, others learn through immersion. No matter the method, keeping them engaged can get the lesson going and the teaching easy. Pique their curiosity and keep the lessons fresh by using media to supplement your lessons. Movies, music, or any physical learning aid you can use to teach a point. Some things are just better shown than just told.
Challenge your students.
When it’s time to assessing what students have just learned, don’t coddle your students. Create writing practice worksheets that improve and challenge their vocabulary. Give them a history essay question that tests what they know and use the insights they gained from it.
After the lesson, why not give out an “exit slip” quiz? This will surely show the misconceptions and everything they didn’t understand from the lesson. It’s not always about them getting it right. It’s about them learning the fact and applying what they learned from it.
Space your lessons.
Schools are considered the students’ second home. They spend almost half their day in school, learning a different subject almost every hour. Give students the time to think about the lessons you’ve made. Space your lessons out evenly so they’ll absorb the information better, promoting long-term retention of the lessons. Cramming all the information into one lesson only serves to promote short-term learning or a “just to pass the exam” kind of mindset.
Crafting a lesson plan needs master, effort, and a whole lot of improvisation and adjustments. There will be no foolproof lesson plans. Knowing what works with your class and what doesn’t can help you prime your lessons and make your students learn the concepts and apply them. After all, a good lesson plan won’t be any good if no students will learn.