A lesson plan is like a map that guides you while you are teaching. Planning your lessons beforehand is a must as it is the proof that you know what to do in the classroom. You are not required to write all details in your lesson plan provided that you are expert enough and you can use just clues to prove that you are well mentally prepared. But whether you are a beginner or expert teacher, there are six main things you must include in your lesson plan. When preparation notes seen by professionals, they go directly to make sure first that the following six things are there as any discussion comes afterward depends on them.
- Details of the lesson:
First of all, you should mention in writing what you are going to teach and to which class. Write the unit and lesson number, which period and which class and the topic or the theme of the unit and the lesson.
Setting the objectives of the lesson is the most important thing you must include in your plan. Select the most important and relevant three objectives students are required to achieve at the end of the lesson and write them carefully. Always remember, objectives here should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) and written from the perspective of the learner using action verbs. E.g. at the end of the lesson students should be able to write a 10-sentence paragraph about summer holiday.
- Teaching aids:
After that, you should set the tools that you are going to use to facilitate learning and attract your students’ attention. Unlike resources (student’s book, workbook, handwriting book, teacher’s guide, CDs, DVDs, the board, ….) teaching aids are often created by the teachers themselves such as pictures, drawings, flashcards, real objects, wall sheets, diagrams, charts, … . Etc. These aids should be adapted to your students’ learning levels and the learning environment. Needless to say that you should write down only what you are going to use not everything.
- Stages of the lesson:
We come to the framework of the lesson. I mean the content of the lesson which includes the new vocab, structure, function and the skill to be emphasized. After writing these things in focus, you should divide the stages of the lesson into four main stages: the first one is warm-up in which you should tell us in only one sentence how to prepare students to the new lesson. The second stage is presentation in which you should write at least three focused steps to introduce the content of the lesson mentioned before in the framework. The third one is practice where you write how students will use and produce the new language included in the lesson. You may divide practice into controlled, guided and free practice writing one sentence to show how to cover each type. Or you may add production after practice and writing evidence from students to show language production.
Evaluation is the four and last stage of the lesson. This stage should be divided mainly into two categories: the first one is assessment in which you write how to make sure that students achieve the objectives set at the start of the lesson. You may write a question students answer orally or in writing. You may write an assignment for students to do at home or anything else you see suitable to know to what extent students achieve the objectives of the lesson. The second category under evaluation is self-evaluation where you – as teacher – should reflect on your lesson after finishing it. So self-evaluation should be done after leaving the classroom immediately writing how things went on during the lesson. Were objectives achieved? Were students responsive or reluctant? Do students need more practice on any point in the lesson? …. Etc.
It’s important to achieve a kind of time management during your lesson. You should specify certain amount of time for each stage of the lesson and try your best to commit to this time. Write time specified beside each stage, activity or task.
In the end, there’s something I want to emphasize again. You should try your best to be focused in your lesson plan. Avoid elaboration and detailed procedures. Focus only on the main steps which represent clues for the details beyond. Before going to plan your lesson I recommend you to read the teacher’s guide. TG is considered an ideal resource for teachers to plan their lessons effectively whether in writing or more importantly mentally.