Do you work in a self-contained classroom? Are you required to write lesson plans for your instruction or do you write lesson plans because you find them helpful?
I would like to suggest that creating lesson plans can really help improve and focus your instruction. You are probably thinking you don’t have time to write lesson plans. Try using this quick form I’ve created and I believe you’ll find that, not only is it not that time-consuming, but it actually saves you in instruction and you get better results from your teaching efforts.
One other very important point; using lesson plans opens doors to teaching topics that you might otherwise neglect (often the fun and fascinating topics such as science and social studies) because you don’t have the curriculum to teach them. By breaking the lesson down into concrete parts, you are suddenly able to help students experience more of the world around them. How awesome is that!
There are seven parts to my lesson plan, and I will go over each one. Click here to download a lesson plan template You will see that many parts can be filled in quickly and easily. Your level of detail will depend on who will use or see your plans. If it’s for your own use only, maybe just jot down notes in each section. I’ve put in approximate times it might take to complete (ie. write) each section below.
1) Objective: Simply write out, in concrete terms, the objective of the lesson. Time to complete: less than a minute
2) Scaffolding: This is a critical step and the one which will give you a much greater chance of helping the student obtain the objective. Consider the terms and ideas you will use in the lesson. If necessary, consider the need to assess those concepts and possibly pre-teach. Time to complete: about three minutes
3) Materials: Consider all the materials you will need, including tech and visuals to support learning. By writing it down you won’t find yourself interrupting instruction to get something you need to teach the lesson. Time to complete: maybe two minutes
4) Link: This is another very important step for all students, but especially for those with intellectual disabilities. In order to engage the students, you need to make it real for them. Think of a way you can link the lesson to a concrete experience that the students are familiar with. Time to complete: three minutes?
5) Engage and Educate: In this section you want to describe how you will teach the lesson. Will you use a physical demonstration, read a book, watch a video? Include any notes on how you will differentiate the instruction. Time to complete: 5-10 minutes.
6) Active Learning: In this section you will describe how the students will practice what they have learned in the lesson. Will it be a game? Worksheets? Project? Time to complete: about five minutes
7) Assessment: Write down how you will assess student understanding. Time to complete: one minute
Add it all up and it comes to under a half hour of work. Having the lesson plan will enhance your ability to teach the subject and improve its quality. Also consider that in the self-contained classroom, it is almost always necessary to repeat, repeat, repeat. Having a formal lesson plan will make doing that easier.
Please download one of my free units (Maps or States of Water) to see examples of completed lesson plans.
I hope you decide to try writing lesson plans and that they enhance and expand your curriculum. Good luck!