Write Lesson Plans

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Writing lesson plans makes sure that you are addressing the requirements of the curriculum as well as the opportunity to plan how you will best address student needs.   Your school district may already have a template, or you can use the Lesson Plan Template as you work through creating your lesson plans.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 2-4 hours

Here's How:

  1. Begin with the end in mind. What do you want the students to learn from this lesson? What state or national standards are you meeting? What does the curriculum from your state or your district require?  Once you've determined this, write a quick description and list out your objectives for the assignment.
  2. What are the needs of your students in meeting the requirements of the curriculum? Do all students have the skills necessary to complete the objectives? If your district is standards based, which students are meeting standards and which are not? What support will you need to provide to students who do not have the skills to meet the objective.
  3. Keep a vocabulary list that uses Tier 2 academic vocabulary words that you can access as you write out your lesson plan procedure.
  4. Determine what Tier 3 content vocabulary students will need as well. This will help you remember terms that you need to make sure the students understand as they work through the lesson.
  5. Create a materials list and add to this as you write your procedure so that you know exactly what you will need including A/V equipment, number of copies, page numbers from books, etc.
  1. Determine if the lesson is new learning or a review. How will you begin the lesson? For example, will you use a simple oral explanation for the lesson or a pre-activity to determine what students know ?
  2. Decide the method(s) you will use to teach the content of your lesson. For example, does it lend itself to independent reading, lecture, or whole group discussion? Will you target instruction for certain students by grouping? Sometimes it is best to use a combination of these methods, varying teaching techniques: beginning with a few minutes of lecture (5 minutes), followed by an activity in which students apply what you taught or a short whole group discussion to ensure that the students understand what you have taught them.
  3. Once you have determined how you will teach the content of the lesson, decide how you will have the students practice the skill/information you just taught them. For example, if you have taught them about the use of a map in a particular country or town, how you will have them practice this information to truly gain an understanding of the material? Will you have them complete independent practice, use a whole group simulation, or allow students to work cooperatively on a project? These are just three possibilities of how you can have them practice the information.
  1. Once you determine how students will practice the skills that you taught them, decide how you will know that they understood what was taught. This could be a simple show of hands or something more formal as a 3-2-1 exit slip. Sometimes a game activity can be effective to have students or if the technology is available a kahoot! quiz.
  2. Complete details for any homework or assessments that you will be giving the students.
  3. It is critically important to review the draft lesson plan to determine any accommodations you need to make for your class including accommodations for ESL and special education.
  4. Once you have completed your lesson plan, include any lesson details such as homework assignments.
  5. Finally, make any copies of handouts needed and collect materials for the lesson.


  1. Always start with the final assessment. What will your students need to know? Knowing the assessments will leave you better able to focus the lesson on what is essential.
  2. Refer regularly to curriculum documents and pacing guides.
  3. Try not to always rely solely on your textbook for lessons. At the same time make sure that you evaluate any other source you might use like other books, teachers, written resources, and internet web pages.
  4. Some school districts require standards to be listed on the lesson plans while others do not. Make sure that you check with your school district.
  5. Overplan, overplan, overplan. It is much easier to cut things out of a plan or continue it the next day than fill up fifteen or twenty extra minutes.
  6. If possible, connect homework to real life. This will help reinforce what the students should be learning.

What You Need:

  • Lesson Plan Template or Plain Paper
  • Pen
  • Textbooks, Books, and/or Other Materials