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Guidelines for Lesson Plans

When you plan any lesson, you should be doing two different types of thinking - the big picture thoughts about what you are teaching and the best way to go about it, and the agenda you will follow in the actual class. Thus, a lesson plan that is written for this class will have two parts:

I. Pre-planning activities: Write these down, but don't need to carry them into the lesson with you. (You seldom see experienced teachers write down this part of the plan. They get to the point where they think these things through in their heads. You can too, AFTER you have a few years experience.)

1. Identify the mathematics content of your lesson. Are you teaching concept(s), skill(s), generalization(s)?

2. Identify the teaching strategies/mode that you will use, such as a discovery or inquiry lesson, an expository lesson, a practice lesson and whether you will use large group, small group, lab etc.

3. What prerequisite knowledge do students need to learn this lesson? How will you find out if they have it?

4. What are the specific objectives you have for students? What will they know and be able to do if your lesson is successful?

5. How will you know if they have accomplished those objectives? (i.e. how will you assess their learning?)

6. What resources will you need?

II. Lesson itself: This is what you might have with you in front of class. It should be arranged in a chronological timeline, with estimated times for each activity.

1. Introduction to the lesson. A motivating problem or real-life situation, an intriguing question, a listing of your objectives, a review of yesterday leading into today - something that sets the stage for the lesson.

2. The tasks that students will be asked to do and your examples, leading questions, pointers to trouble spots that you will use to develop the body of the lesson. (Plan more examples and questions than you expect to use, in case there are unexpected difficulties in understanding.) Be sure to figure out how you will check for understanding.

3. Extensions that you may use if all or a subset of the students accomplish your tasks faster than you had expected.

4. Your closure to the lesson. How you will pull it together.

5. The homework assignment you will give.


Remember, even though you are to teach for only 15 minutes for your microteaching lesson, you need to plan a lesson for an entire class period.