As a teacher, you dedicate countless hours to preparing lessons that inspire and engage your students. While the effort required to craft an impactful 45-minute lesson may seem challenging, systematically approaching the planning process can make the task more achievable. By following the steps and tips in this article, you can develop a well-structured lesson that taps into your creativity and passion for the subject, keeping your students’ needs and learning objectives at the forefront.
Table of Contents
Know your objectives
Ask yourself, “What do I want my students to learn or be able to do by the end of this lesson?” Be specific. Having clear goals will help guide your planning and ensure your students achieve the intended outcomes.
Determine 2-3 specific learning objectives for the lesson that align with content standards and curriculum goals. Objectives should be student-centered, focusing on what students will be able to do. Consider using action verbs like:
Develop 1-2 essential questions to frame the lesson and stimulate students’ thinking. Essential questions capture the topic’s essence and encourage students to explore concepts deeply. Examples include:
- How do authors use figurative language to convey meaning?
- What factors influence a country’s economic growth?
Key Concepts and Topics
Outline 3-5 of the most essential concepts you want students to understand by the end of the lesson. Connect ideas that support the learning objectives and essential questions. Arrange them in a logical flow or sequence.
Throughout the lesson, continually check that students have understood the concepts. Furthermore, if you want to gain in-depth knowledge and skills to design practical lessons that align with your objectives by utilizing various teaching strategies and assessment techniques, consider enrolling in an online MAT program, where you will not only polish your teaching skills but the program’s flexibility will allow you to balance your professional and academic commitments.
Prepare Any Necessary Materials in Advance
To ensure a smooth and effective lesson, it is important to create copies of handouts, worksheets, texts, and any other physical materials necessary for your planned activities. Additionally, you should ensure that all digital materials, such as slide decks, videos, audio, and interactive elements, are ready and tested beforehand.
To avoid technical difficulties during class, double-check that you have enough materials for all students and that everything works. This includes testing projectors, laptops, tablets, and any apps or software you intend to use.
Make lesson relatable
To make your lesson relatable and engaging for students, empathize with them and try to see everything from their perspective. Think about their interests and experiences. Connect the material to popular books, movies, or social media platforms that you know many of the students enjoy.
- Ask students to share examples from their own lives that relate to what you’re teaching. Discuss how those examples demonstrate or apply the concepts.
- Create questions that encourage students to analyze how the material relates to the real world. Ask them how particular ideas or events might influence or impact them directly. For example, if you teach climate change, you could ask students how it might affect their local community or future career prospects. This helps students develop a deeper understanding of the material.
Don’t rely on fluff
As teachers, it’s easy to get caught up in making lessons “fun” and “entertaining.” While engaging students is essential, don’t rely on fluff or gimmicks to fill time. Every activity, video, song, game, or discussion should have a clear learning objective related to the standards and skills you want students to master.
Ask yourself how each component, no matter how fun, is helping students achieve the goals of your lesson. If an activity is purely for entertainment and not learning, it may be better suited for free time or recess.
Get creative and incorporate technology
Leveraging technology through videos, interactive media, collaborative platforms, and class websites or discussion boards leads to highly engaging lessons encouraging students to actively participate in class.
Include interactive presentations
Rather than lecturing with static slides, use interactive presentation tools like Nearpod, Pear Deck, and Google Slides with the Pear Deck add-on. These platforms allow you to embed questions, polls, videos, and images into your slideshows. Students can respond from their devices, giving you instant insight into their understanding.
Set up a class website or discussion board
Creating a discussion board for your class gives students an online space to extend their learning. You might post assignments, host online discussions, and communicate class updates on the site. Students can also work collaboratively by engaging in discussions, sharing their work, and providing feedback to each other. Popular free platforms for class websites and discussion boards include Google Classroom, Canvas, and Edmodo.
Build Opportunities for Student Collaboration
Collaborative work is vital in any successful classroom. Students can learn from each other, bounce ideas off one another, and gain new perspectives when working together.
To encourage collaboration, you can assign students to work in pairs or small groups for part of the lesson. This could include discussing a topic, solving a problem, or reviewing each other’s work.
Another way to promote collaboration is by putting students in pairs for ‘think-pair-share’ activities, where they discuss a prompt or question together before sharing it with the whole class.
Furthermore, having students interview each other or work together on a group project can also help them develop soft skills like communication and teamwork.
Wrap Up and Review
To wrap up an engaging lesson, it’s essential to leave your students with a summary of the key takeaways and an opportunity to ask questions.
Review the Main Points
• Briefly reiterate 2-3 essential concepts, skills, or topics the lesson covers.
• Ask students if they have any questions about the main points before moving on. This helps reinforce their learning and ensures no one lags.
• Give a quick overview of the homework and how it relates to what was taught in class.
• Explain your expectations and any resources they’ll need to complete the work. Allow time for questions about the homework to avoid confusion.
End on an Engaging Note
• Wrap up the lesson with an interesting fact, story, or question to pique their curiosity for next time. This keeps them excited about the content and topic.
• Thank students for their participation and enthusiasm. Provide encouragement and motivation to apply what they’ve learned.
Allow these tips to guide you, and you’ll deliver great lessons in no time. Remember, start with clear objectives, incorporate interactive activities, leave room for questions, and reflect on how it went so you can keep improving. Moreover, if you need to enhance your teaching and lesson planning skills, consider enrolling in an online degree. Above all, enjoy planning every lesson and never let go of that passion to shape the future of your community and this world!