Friday, June 28, 2013

Lesson Planning 101

Every week I have the task of coming up with an exciting lesson.  I have found that understanding the needs of my students ahead of mine are the most important aspect to take into consideration when planning any lesson. As teachers it is vital for us to identify the type of learners we have (i.e. visual, auditory, kinesthetic) before planning a lesson as it makes work a little easier.  I'm currently teaching at an all boys middle school and I've found that majority of my students are visual learners; however, I try to fit in activities that also appeal to my auditory and kinesthetic (tactical) learners so that they don't fall behind.

The next step is to pick a topic that will appeal to everyone in class (teacher included).  For the purpose of this post I have chosen "Animals".  It's one my favourite topics as it can be taught to any grade in numerous ways.

Now that I have a topic and I know what type of learners I have I will start planning each step of the lesson taking time into consideration.  My classes in Korea are 45 minutes long so I will need to have enough prepared to fill that time without becoming repetitive or redundant.

OK! Let the planning begin!

Step One:  Lead-in ( 3minutes)
This is where you will introduce your topic to the class.  Audio visual aids such as a music video is an excellent lead-in tool.  The lead-in should be 5 minutes or less as it is just a warm-up. For example: **Old McDonald had a farm**, could be a  fun lead-in for a lesson on animals.
After listening to the song/watching the video you can ask the students to guess the topic, it gives them a little thrill when they make the correct guess.

Step Two: Elicitation (5 minutes)
Here, you want to find out how much your students know about the topic.  A good way to elicit information from the students is show them a prop such as flashcards or a PowerPoint presentation.  Each image or prop will get the students talking. For example in a lesson on animals you will show the students images of different animals to check if they can identify the animal.  You can take it a step further with higher level students and check if the kids know the names of the offspring and to make things more exciting, you can talk about the sounds animals make.

NB:  Using funny looking images creates a lighter atmosphere in the classroom as it draws the student in and builds greater engagement.

 Step Three:  Presentation (7 minutes)
In this step you will be presenting the main topic.  So if you chose the theme of animals you have a sub-topic such as animal homes.  During your presentation you will talk about this.  PowerPoints; Flashcards or Charts are great for presentations.

Step Four:  Controlled Practice (10 minutes)
At this point you would want the kids to put into practice everything they have studied.  The best way to test their knowledge on the day's lesson is through a work sheet.  Another great tool is doing a role-play.  Most often your topic will dictate the type of practice most suited for the lesson.

Step Five: Freer Practice (15 minutes)
Once again you will be testing the students knowledge on the lesson just taught however with this step you can be more flexible.  Games are great for this as it creates a "freer" learning environment.  It's both entertaining and educational. With this set you can do more that one activity depending on your time.

Step Six: Review   (5 minutes)
Towards the end of the lesson it's good to do a quick review to tie up the lesson. Review could be a short worksheet like a word search which they can complete in class or something longer if you wish to give the students homework for the day.

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

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