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Planning, by Harry Dodds and Lorna Smith

This deals with the absolute bare bones of planning. For a fuller picture, please also look at the related
articles, Blooms Taxonomy, Starters and lenaries, !hat makes an effecti"e lesson#, and $ssessment
% but read this first.
!riting your first lessons plans will take you a long time. &ont despair ' this will become (uicker and easier
as you begin to internalise all the information and skills that lie beneath a good plan.
Why is a lesson plan important?

Because it)
pro"ides you with a structured route through your lesson so that you can be sure of meeting your lesson
gi"es you a secure base from which you can pro*ect to your class the impression that you are organised
and that you know what you are doing. +That is one of the important elements of effecti"e beha"iour
pro"ides you, your mentor, your tutors and colleagues with insights into the way you are approaching
your teaching, and shows that you are helping your pupils make progress.
offers +o"er a number of lessons, e"idence that you are addressing the re(uirements of almost e"ery
Standard other than -./.
What is a lesson plan?
0ts a simple statement of)
what your pupils are going to learn
how you intend them to learn it
how you will know that the learning has taken place.
How do I write a lesson plan?
Stage 1
The starting point for any lesson plan must be, !hat do 0 want pupils to learn# 0f you begin by answering
that (uestion, and call your answer a 1earning 2b*ecti"e, then your planning will stay focused. 0f you look at
the Blooms Taxonomy resource, you will find some acti"e "erbs that might help you identify the 1earning
2b*ecti"e and build se(uences of learning.
3nless it is a one off lesson, the 1earning 2b*ecti"e will usually come from a 4edium Term lan, or
Scheme53nit of !ork % either one that you ha"e prepared yourself, or one prepared by your school.
This resource was downloaded from The Training Ground Page of !
Planning, by Harry Dodds and Lorna Smith
Stage 2
6our course documents will include a standard proforma for writing lesson plans. 6our school will ha"e its
own "ersion, not necessarily the same. +6our uni"ersity will pro"ide guidance on which proformas to use and
A lesson plan will usually contain these elements:
1. $ context. 0ndicate where the lesson fits into the 4edium Term lan 5 Scheme of !ork or rogramme of
Study. 3se references to the 7ational 8urriculum % e.g. 97: .b % and 5 or $ssessment 2b*ecti"es drawn
from exam specifications.
2. $ statement both of success criteria and of the means by which you will assess the success of the lesson
% what learning has taken place, and how effecti"ely. 4ake these explicit to the class, probably early in
the lesson.
3. $n outline of your proposed acti"ities, with an approximation of timings. $nticipate likely difficulties here,
and record not *ust what you will do, but how you will do it. For example, if you want pupils to mo"e to
the front of the classroom, think how you will manage the mo"ement so you dont pro"oke a single mad
rush of thirty bodies. upils mo"e to the front in threes and fours and sit where directed would do.
0t is crucial to remember that the proposed acti"ities should always lead the pupils in the direction of the
Learning Objective) you must be clear about !;6 each acti"ity is a necessary element of the lesson
+and your uni"ersity may ask you to *ustify the learning outcome of each acti"ity on your plan,. 0n other
words, howe"er engaging or fun your idea is, if it doesnt contribute toward the end goal, dont do it< +File
away your idea for another time=,
$t this point in your planning, be specific about)
how you will begin and end the lesson
how you will group pupils
how you will manage transitions between acti"ities and separate phases of the lesson.
4. Statements of indi"idual pupils specific learning needs, determined with reference to 09s, 9$1, S97, >
? T, learning and 5 or beha"iour targets, or other re(uirements, and of how you propose to meet those
needs. These are the first steps towards pro"iding effecti"e differentiation.
. $cknowledgement of the role a T$ or 1S$ might play in the lesson.
!. $n account of the resources you will use % e"erything from texts and worksheets to
glue and scissors. $gain, make your strategies for managing these resources (uite
clear. The same goes for your use of audio'"isual or other e(uipment.
". 3se of 08T, with a clear statement of the ways in which it enhances learning.
#. 7otes on ;ealth and Safety considerations. 0n the typical 9nglish classroom this is
usually about stray cables and stowing bags under tables, but, again, anticipate.
0f, for the first two or three lessons you feel safer by writing yourself a script, thats fine, but as you become
more confident you should be able to mo"e towards a more economical model. The exception to this
This resource was downloaded from The Training Ground Page " of !
Planning, by Harry Dodds and Lorna Smith
ad"ice is when you are structuring a se(uence of (uestions. Theres nothing wrong with scripting them, *ust
to be sure that you dont miss out something important % and try to be prepared to be flexible.
Stage 3 $ Assessment
;ow will you know that any learning has taken place# 6ou cant *ust assume it, so you must at some point,
or points, during the lesson build in opportunities to check pupils understanding, whether that be orally or
by more formal means. $gain, be specific about how you will do this.
%lanning in %ractice $ getting the structure right
0nspired by the 7ational Strategy, most model lesson plans contain four parts)
%art 1. $ short starter acti"ity, in"ol"ing the whole class in some way. This is as much as anything to engage
pupils in the lesson and to wake them up, but should also assess or refresh prior knowledge, to bridge
learning from pre"ious lessons into the current one. Fi"e to ten minutes is usually (uite long enough.
%art 2. $n introduction to the main points that you want pupils to learn, perhaps through contextualisation,
(uestioning, or plain exposition.
%art 3. &e'elopment and consolidation. 0n this phase, encourage pupils to make the new learning their
own, perhaps by applying it or re'stating it. upils might work in groups, pairs, indi"idually, or in a mixture of
all three, depending on how you ha"e decided is best to meet the 1earning 2b*ecti"es.
%art 4. %lenary. 0n this phase, you make the learning explicit, perhaps by structured (uestioning, feedback
from pupils as presentations or as brief accounts. upils should be able to articulate in some way what they
ha"e learnt in the lesson, and you will be able to assess what learning has taken place, and how effecti"ely.
!hen you obser"e teachers in schools, consider how far each of them follows this four'part plan, and the
reasons for any de"iations from it. For example, you may see teachers conduct mini'plenaries midway
through the lesson. Talk with teachers about how they structure their lessons and their reasons for doing so.
6ou will find support for planning in the &8FS materials, edagogy and ractice) Teaching and 1earning in
Secondary Schools. The full set of @A study units and &B&s comes in a big box file, &8FS reference
number AC@:'@AAC, but you can download the essentials from
The contents include)
3nits .'E &esigning lessons
3nits F'.. Teaching repertoire
3nits .@'./ 8reating effecti"e learners
3nits .G'@A 8reating conditions for learning
This resource was downloaded from The Training Ground Page ! of !