5 Tips for College Students Developing Their First Lesson Plans

Teaching students can be quite challenging, but preparing lesson plans with limited experience is even harder. Teachers must understand their audience, follow state standards and create engaging activities all within limited time frames and with limited resources. Following the five tips below will make preparing teaching goals and plans for the first time much easier.

Lesson Plan Objectives

The first step in developing a student teaching lesson plan is to determine what students should learn and be able to do at the end of class. Teachers should define what the lesson’s topic is going to be, what tangible skills should be acquired and what intangible knowledge should be learned. Once these goals are defined, rank them by importance. This helps with managing time and focuses on the most important learning objectives. Objectives should incorporate state standards into the curriculum at every possible opportunity. Lesson plan objectives should be measurable and achievable. It may help to think about how students may potentially apply the most important ideas or skills in their daily lives.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Master of Arts in Teaching Degree Programs

Lesson Plan Activities

Almost all students respond better to kinesthetic teaching, which means the teacher must incorporate physical activities and challenges into the lesson plan. Learning activities should be based on the desired outcomes, but they should also be based on the level of possible student engagement. That is, younger students respond best to physical activities that involve movement and motor skills. For example, kindergarten students learning the alphabet will enjoy competing to see who can first touch the correct letter on the board. By creating relevant learning activities, teachers can reach their objectives and engage the students. Popular activities include flashcards, matching games and sentence diagramming,

Lesson Plan Materials

Most teachers find that standard curriculum lacks creativity and flexibility, so they must develop or gather their own materials. Customized materials will enrich learning opportunities and increase the levels of student engagement. The Internet is full of helpful lesson plan resources that allow teachers to create individualized printouts on all possible subjects. In order to save paper and ensure the handout is fully used, be sure to only use them when necessary. Older students will enjoy enrichment opportunities like field trips or guest speakers. Be aware that too many or too complex supplemental materials are counterproductive.

Lesson Plan Introduction

Some teachers feel that the most important part of the lesson plan is the initial introduction. A poorly executed introduction will fail to grasp the attention and commitment of the students. A teacher introducing Shakespeare doesn’t have to present themselves in Elizabethan clothes to get high school students’ attention. Instead, they could just present a fictitious and funny handout of a social media homepage that presents Romeo, Juliet and other characters posting messages and tagging pictures. Because teachers usually have a diverse body of students with different academic levels and personal experiences, it’s helpful to use introductions that are universally engaging and witty.

Lesson Plan Checks

All teachers must consistently check in with students to ensure that the learning objectives are being met and that students are engaged. Instead of simply waiting to ask a student who is whispering to another student to share their secret with the class, teachers should prepare specific questions to check for comprehension. For example, a teacher introducing a classic novel could simply ask students to reflect on the first chapter, paraphrase the plot events in a synopsis and explain their understanding to the class. Always try to predict the answers that prepared questions will generate.

Anyone who seriously wants to become a teacher should learn popular education websites that provide resources, how-to guides, teaching credential overviews and job introductions. Being a teacher is a rewarding experience, but success depends on quality lesson plans.