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A lesson plan is a teacher's detailed description of the course of instruction for an individual lesson. While there is no one way to construct a correct lesson plan, most lesson plans contain some or all of these elements, typically in this order:

  • the title of the lesson
  • the amount of time required to complete the lesson
  • a list of required materials
  • a list of objectives. These may be stated as behavioral objectives (what the student is expected to be able to do upon completion of the lesson) or as knowledge objectives (what the student is expected to know upon completion of the lesson.
  • the set or lead-in to the lesson. This is designed to focus students on the skill or concept about to be instructed. Common sets include showing pictures or models, asking leading questions, or reviewing previously taught lessons.
  • the instructional component. This describes the sequence of events which will take place as the lesson is delivered. It includes the instructional input—what the teacher plans to do and say, and guided practice—an opportunity for students to try new skills or express new ideas with the modelling and guidance of the teacher.
  • independent practice. This component allows students to practice the skill or extend the knowledge on their own.
  • the summary. This is an opportunity for the teacher to wrap up the discussion and for the students to pose unanswered questions.
  • evaluation. Some, but not all, lessons have an evaluative component where the teacher can check for mastery of the instructed skills or concepts. This may take the form of a set of questions to be answered or a set of instructions to be followed. The evaluation may be formative; that is to say, used to guide subsequent learning, or summative; that is to say, used to determine a grade or other achievement criterion.
  • analysis. Often not part of a lesson plan, this component allows the teacher to reflect on the lesson and answer questions such as what went well, what needs improving, and how students reacted to the lesson.

Unit plans follow much the same format, but are intended to cover an entire unit of work, which may be delivered over several days or weeks.

In today's constructivist teaching style, the individual lesson plan is often inappropriate. Specific objectives and timelines may be included in the unit plan, but lesson plans are more fluid as they cater to student needs and learning styles. As students are asked to engage in problem or inquiry learning, rigid lesson planning with title, behavioral objectives, and specific outcomes within certain time constraints often no longer fit within modern effective pedagogy. Today, formal lesson plans are often required only of student teachers, who must be demonstrably familiar with the components of a lesson, or teachers new to the field, who have not yet internalized the flow of a lesson.

See alsoEdit

References & BibliographyEdit

Key textsEdit


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  • Utter, B. (2007). Pick and plan: 100 brain-compatible strategies for lesson design. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
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Additional materialEdit




  • Alexander, S. L. (1976). An evaluation of the effects of attitude, mastery, and integration on application of lesson planning skills learned in a computer-based instructional simulation and practiced in microclassrooms by prospective teachers: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Bastress, R. M. (1972). The use of behavioral objectives in planning and implementing instruction: Dissertation Abstracts International Vol.
  • Beyerbach, B. A. (1986). Concept mapping as an approach to assessment of students' representation of structural knowledge: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Casciato, D. M. (2007). Effect of a self-evaluation checklist on the quality of student teachers' scripted lesson plans. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Demchik, V. F. (1987). The effect of varied strategies training on classroom lesson planning skills: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Foriska, T. J. (1991). Utilizing technology to improve the principals' role as instructional leader: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • George, P. G. (1979). The relationship of lesson properties and teacher communication to the task-related attention of learning disabled children: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Graham, K. C. (1987). The nature of lessons and instruction in a middle school physical education class: A social interaction perspective: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Henschel, C. J. (1999). The effects of reflective practice on in-class decisions during planning, for novices. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Hsu, C.-L. (1994). The impact of systematic planning on intern teachers' planning strategies and students' learning outcomes. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Hudson, N. A. (1991). Evaluation of special education teachers: Perceptions of special education teachers and administrators: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Kreutzer, F. W. (1984). The perceptions of secondary school teachers regarding instructional development: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Micheller, J. S. (2003). Determining the intellectual quality of Internet-accessible lesson plans: A conceptual content analysis. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Murray, A. M. (1992). Training teachers to foster creativity using the 4MAT model: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Neely, A. M. (1983). An experiment in the training in cognitive monitoring and its relationship to dogmatism and impact on planning and classroom implementation performance of preservice teachers: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Nerney, J. E. (2003). Toward the instruction of a positive psychology: Lessons for an undergraduate course. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Olona, M. L. (1988). The effects of Rogerian-based lesson plans on the self-esteem of migrant children: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Pellegrino, A. M. (2008). The manifestation of critical thinking and metacognition in secondary American history students through the implementation of lesson plans and activities consistent with historical thinking skills. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Richey, M. J. (1984). A study of primary teacher planning behavior for reading instruction: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Rogien, L. R. (1998). The effects of cognitive strategy training in clarity of instruction on lesson planning and instruction for preservice teachers. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Semb, G. B. (1973). The effects of instructional objectives and grade-contingent points on student test performance in an introductory college course: Dissertation Abstracts International Vol.
  • Still, J. L. (1973). Simulation design training and programmed instruction in relation to attitudinal changes of teachers toward behavioral objectives in selected Florida secondary schools: Dissertation Abstracts International Vol.
  • Sung, K. H. (1983). The effects of differentially structured lesson plans on the elementary general music teaching behaviors of sophomore music education students: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Svare, R. J. (1986). Performance in a vocational electronics computer aided instruction exercise as a function of psychological differentiation and lesson structure: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Wesolik, F. (2008). The relationship between early childhood teacher candidates' perceptions of school climate and their creation of developmentally appropriate lesson plans: A mixed methods study. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Wise, R. I. (1974). The effects of modifying instruction for reteaching: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Zengaro, F. (2007). Learning to plan for teaching: A multiple-case study of field-based experiences of three preservice teachers. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.

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