By Teachers, For Teachers
Lesson plans take time to create, and when you put your heart and soul into designing the perfect lesson for your students, just for it to fail, it can take a toll on your self-esteem. What does a great lesson plan look like to you? If you were to sit in on your own lesson, what classroom management elements do you think it should contain? These are the questions that you need to ask yourself before you sit down to plan your lessons. If you feel your lesson plans are not as effective as you had hoped they’d be, then you must make some classroom management changes. Here are a few reasons why your lesson plans may not be effective, as well as what you can do using classroom management to change that.
If your lesson doesn’t have an objective, then how do the students know why they need to learn what they are learning? The first thing that you need to do to ensure that your lesson will go well is to have a purpose for what you are teaching. As you’re planning for the lesson, think about what you need your students to know, as well as what they‘re going to take away from the lesson. Once you’ve figured this out, then you need to explain your objective to the students, so they’ll know why they need to learn what you are about to teach them. It’s also wise to offer real-word examples whenever you can to help activate their prior knowledge before the lesson. This will help them connect what they already know to what they’re about to learn.
Think about when you get a new board game. The first thing that you do is read the directions so you’ll know how to play the game. When preparing a lesson plan, you must always make time to model what you want your students to do, to ensure they understand what you want them to learn. For example, if you were to teach a science experiment, the first thing that you would do is show the students how to properly use the materials before you sent them off to try it on their own. You’d also tell them the consequences of what would happen if they don’t handle the materials properly. If you’re sending your students off with just paper directions and not modeling anything beforehand, this may be the reason your lessons are not as effective as you’d hoped.
As you know, in order for students to really comprehend a lesson they have to be interested in it. If your lessons aren’t engaging, then they won’t be effective. Children learn by doing, so you must incorporate as many hands-on activities as you can to keep them engaged. Use cooperative learning groups, an iPad, or a Whiteboard to help enhance your lesson. Keep them moving and you’ll see that it’ll help you attain your lesson’s objective.
After you teach a lesson and the students are busy applying the skills you have taught them, do you go sit down at your desk and check your email, or are you walking around the classroom checking for understanding? If you’re sitting at your desk, then that may just be the reason for your ineffective lesson plan. Take the time to monitor your students, walk around the classroom and answer any questions the students may still have. As you move around the classroom, ask students critical thinking questions to strengthen their comprehension skills, or gently tap their shoulder to make sure they understand what they’re doing. When you see a student doing what they are supposed to be doing to meet your goal, compliment them. When you compliment them, make sure all the students see you doing this. The students will then understand why you’re so pleased, and in turn try to meet your objective too.
One the best things that you can do for yourself is to reflect on every lesson. If you’re the type of person to plan a lesson, execute it, then never look back, you’re not doing yourself any good. Take the time to reflect upon your lessons. Look for any patterns or try to find what you were lacking in a particular area. Then you can take that information and do something with it for your future lessons. Talk to your colleagues, or go on online and talk about what you discovered and get other teachers’ input. You may find this self-reflection is extremely valuable in developing your skills as an educator. This understanding can only help your lessons become more effective.
What classroom management elements do you think need to be in a lesson in order for it to be an effective one? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.