Foundations of Lesson Planning 

Students image
Students need clear learning goals about what to learn, how deeply to learn it, and exactly how to demonstrate their new learning. They must see, recognize, and understand what the learning target is. The objective must be in developmentally appropriate, student-friendly, and culturally respective language and should relate to one or more of the MPO's in the course syllabus. 
(U.S. Digital Literacy)

US Digital Literacy: Dig Deeper
Take a few minutes to write a lesson objective. Think about a lesson you teach, and what it is you want your students to know or do a result of the lesson? How will they demonstrate their learning? 

Click here or on the image to the left to dig deeper.

Click her for the Power Point Version
What are the four main steps to lesson planning and what is completed in each step?
Four Elements of Lesson Planning

Click on the image to the right to download the PowerPoint version of this page. The file will appear in your downloads folder.

What does a class look like without a plan? Click on the image below to watch the 7 minute Saturday Night Live skit. The video will open in a new tab. This can be the activating strategy. As you view, ask what this teacher could have done differently.

Saturday Night Live Skit: Click to Watch

Activating Strategies download

Begin the lesson with an an activating strategy (AS), which is a technique to "activate students' prior knowledge through use of engaging strategies designed to focus learning. The AS should be engaging to hook students with emotion to create attentive, curious, and excited learners. Whether using humor or drama, something visual or creating a mood by storytelling, emotional engagement is key to getting
Click here for Activating Stategies
students attention from the start." 
(U.S. Digital Literacy)
  • There are hundreds of activating strategies. The US Digital Literacy web page includes descriptions and templates, along with apps. Click here or on the image to the right to download some activating strategies. Search the internet to find more.
  • A KWL Chart is used prior to the study of new material, a discussion, a reading, or an event. Students are asked to brainstorm all of the things they Know or Want to know about a particular topic. The chart is typically set up in three columns with the letters K, W, L at the top of each column. The letter "L" stands for what you have Learned.  
    (Resource: Ogle, Donna M., The Reading Teacher Vol. 39, No. 6 (Feb., 1986), pp. 564-570 Published by: International Reading Association Article Stable)
  • Click here or on the image to the bottom right to download the KWL Template. The document will appear in your "Downloads" folder.     
KWL Chart download
    Try It 
  • What do you already know about the four parts of lesson planning? (Enter in the "K" column)
  • What do you want to know? (Enter in the "W" column)
  • Think about these two questions and compile a list.
    •  You will fill in "L" column as the summarizing strategy later.

Direct Instruction (teaching)


Teaching is how you deliver the lesson information to your students. Your methods of Direct Instruction could include reading a book, displaying diagrams, showing real-life examples of the subject matter, using props, discussing relevant characteristics, watching a video, or other hands-on and/or presentational steps directly related to your lesson plan's stated objective. 
  • Whenever possible, use multi-sensory methods. 
  • For out of class lesson, assign reading, video, or some other activity where students have access to the content.
  • Direct instruction (teaching) is paired with guided practice
  • Direct instruction should be 10-15 minutes in length and then followed by Guided Practice/Formative Assessment (Adult attention span)
  • This should be the rhythm of your class.

Guided Practice (Formative Assessment)

Guided practice is the interactive instruction between teacher and students. After the Direct Instruction, begin the Guided Practice process by engaging students in a similar task to what they will complete later in the lesson independently. Outline how your students will demonstrate that they grasped the skills, concepts, and modeling that presented during the Direct Instruction.

While you circulate the classroom and provide assistance for a given activity, the students should be able to perform the task and be held accountable for the lesson's information.The Guided Practice activities can be either individual or cooperative learning. As a teacher, you should observe the students' level of mastery of the material in order to inform your future teaching. Additionally, provide focused support for individuals needing extra help to reach the learning goals.
  • After each 10-15 minute chunk, you need to ensure that your students have "gotten" what you have taught. (Formative Assessment)
  • This is where students can get active and engaged in the content!
  • What kinds of activities do you use to check that your students are understanding material?

Summarizing Strategy

An effective closure activity promotes the retention of knowledge through the use of engaging strategies designed to rehearse and practice skills for the purpose of moving knowledge into long-term memory. Ideally, closure activities create powerful learning effects at the end of the class, something that will reverberate for hours after the lesson is over. 

"As a deliberate part of your planning process, these activities summarize the current lesson, provide it context, and build anticipation for the next. Properly implemented, they will help you establish and maintain course momentum." (LUCERO, N.D.) Reinforcing what students have learned, closure activities also serve as an assessment tool with which to evaluate your students retention level—Did they get it?
  • Summarizing Strategies Download
    Students should be able to answer the essential question/big idea/objective for the day.
  • Click here or on the image to the right to download some summarizing strategies.
  • Pick two that you can also put on your note card and use in your classroom.
    • Summarizing strategies should allow students to synthesize information from the lesson.
  • What they have learned would be placed into the "L" column of the KWL Chart