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Teaching Strategies to Avoid When Writing Lesson Plans

Janelle Cox

A career in teaching means that you will be using teaching strategies to write thousands upon thousands of lesson plans. Whichever teaching strategies you choose to write them is essentially up you or your school district. However, there is no denying the fact that it must be done, and must be done right. Being able to effectively plan a lesson (and how to word it and write it) is a fundamental skill that has to be developed. It takes some time and a lot of practice to be able to write a lesson plan correctly. One of the first teaching strategies to improve your skills of lesson plan writing is to be able to put in words what you want your students to accomplish. Once you are able to this, it will be much easier to get to your main goal.

Here are a few common mistakes teachers make when writing their lesson plans, and some tips on to fix it.

5 Common Teaching Strategies to Avoid

1. The Objective is Not Clear

Oftentimes teachers or student teachers lack a clear objective. They do not specify what the student will actually be doing in order to gain knowledge about the subject matter. The main objective of the lesson is a detailed description of what the students will do (that you as the teacher can observe). It is essentially what your end goal of the lesson is. What is it that you want the students to learn? What will they be doing to learn this information?

2. The Materials are Inessential

Listing a bunch of random materials and supplies that are inessential to your main objective is a no-no. Only list a few materials that you will use and need in order for the students to meet your objective. Do not think in terms of “The more, the better,” rather think more along the lines of simplicity in order to achieve your main objective.

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3. There is Too Much Busy Work

Do you have students working on three worksheets, writing an essay, and reading a chapter in their textbook for your student activities section? Do not have your students be engaged in a million and one activities to just keep them busy, or because you want to see how many activities you can “Fit in.” You should only choose a few activities to correlate with your objective, not a million.

4. The Assessment is Disconnected to the Objective

The assessment section of your lesson plan is not connected to your overall objective. This means you do not accurately write down how you will determine if your students met your objective. This section is simple, be specific and detail how you will assess your students (using a rubric, a test, through reading an essay, a project, etc.).

5. Direct Instruction is Not Efficient

You have not successfully described how you will engage students through direct instruction. You need to be quite efficient when coming up with how you will teach students. Ask yourself, “How can I engage students and encourage classroom participation? How can I meet the learning styles of all students? What can I do to ensure I am reaching all of my students?”

Sample Lesson Plan Format

Here is a sample lesson plan format that most teachers follow. Use this as a guideline when writing your lesson plans, and don’t forget to be specific.

  • Content – Write down a statement that relates to the content. “I want my student to be able to …”
  • Prior Knowledge – Indicate what your students need to know in order to successfully understand the lesson.
  • Objective – Write your complete objective in terms of what the student will be able to do. What is the intended learning outcome and the basis for the lesson?
  • Procedure – What specific things will you do to teach the lesson? Describe the instructional techniques you will use.
  • Materials – List all the materials that you will use as well as the ones that students will use, and how the materials will be used.
  • Assessment – How will you determine that your students have met your objective? List what you will do in order to find this out.
  • Activities – What activities will the students partake in, to learn about and/or reinforce the information learned (Homework, etc.)?
  • Self-Reflection – How did the lesson go? What would you have changed?

The more that you plan ahead the better your lesson will go. Remember when writing your lesson plans to be specific and always keep your main objective in mind.

Do you have any tips or tricks for writing lesson plans? Please share your expertise in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.

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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.