Planning Effective Lessons

An excerpt from How to Plan Effective Lessons, an article by Ellen Ullman in the October 2011 Education Update from ASCD.

Four key strategies for planning an effective lesson:

  1. Determine the purpose of the lesson.
    If you have a clear expectation, so will your students. “Remember, we are preparing our students for jobs we don’t even know about yet,” Kelly says. “They need to learn how to take ideas they hear and come up with new and creative ideas. Our lessons need to provide those kinds of opportunities.”
  2. Create space for student thinking and discussion.
    “I ask teachers to make sure their questions allow for student discussion,” Cedo says. “Can students agree, disagree, and explain their reasoning? Can they arrive at different conclusions and discuss with their peers in a comfortable, safe environment?”
  3. Be prepared to push that student thinking further.
    It helps to have prompts in your plan. How will you take them to the next level? How will you reach the ones who aren’t getting it? Students must have an opportunity to apply their thinking independently. This should be part of the lesson and can be whole-group, mini-group, or individual work.
  4. Make time for reflection.
    This is the time when you come together with your students and summarize what worked and what didn’t. By listening, you will know if you have met your goals and determine if any changes need to be made.

I found this a helpful reminder as I often found, in the busyness & rush of the school day, that I didn’t plan these intentionally in my lessons.

Additional resources (from the end of the article)


About J Martens

Educator living in Vancouver and working in SD37 Delta. Supporting Numeracy while learning how formative assessment, literacy, inquiry, and technology serve to improve learning and increase engagement (for teachers & students).
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