Lesson Plans: Using Procedures

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The procedure is the body of your lesson plan, the ways in which you'll share information with students and the methods you'll use to help them assume a measure of mastery of that material. The three stages (a motivational opening, the development of the lesson, and the closing), although instructional in nature, can also involve some formal or informal assessment periodically. Periodic assessment throughout a lesson will alert you to any misconceptions or misunderstandings students may have long before they reach the conclusion of the lesson (when it may be too late).

Let's take a look at the three major stages of this section of effective lesson planning.

Motivational Opening

This stage of a lesson is critical! It's how you stimulate students' interest in a topic or subject. It may involve asking students a thought-provoking question such as, “How would you like to sleep for four months every year?” or “Did you know we can measure any tree on the playground without climbing it?” Other attention-gaining devises can include models, maps, globes, a piece of apparatus, or a demonstration. It is important that each and every lesson include some method to stimulate the students' interests.

Here are some other methods to consider for this all-important first stage:

Secondary Thoughts

Don't make the mistake of assuming what students know. Take the time to assess their background knowledge, and you'll be rewarded with more successful lessons. For example, just because students studied American history in elementary school, had a basic history course in middle school, and are now in your high school history class, don't assume they know all there is to know about American history. Take the time to find out. Bottom line: Always know what your students know!

  • Tapping background knowledge. Students bring a certain amount of background knowledge or prior experiences to any lesson. Use this opportunity to find out what students know before beginning any lesson.

  • Self-questioning. I've found that when students of any age are provided opportunities to generate their own questions about a topic, they will be motivated to seek the answers to those questions.

  • Predicting. Predictions are educated guesses about what might or might not happen. Predictions are valuable for providing students with some self-initiated directions for a lesson.

  • Brainstorming. Brainstorming allows students to share much of their prior knowledge in a supportive arena. Encourage students to brainstorm for everything they may know about a topic. Remember that the emphasis in brainstorming is on gathering a quantity of ideas, regardless of their quality.

  • Reading aloud. Read a book, a piece of children's or adolescent literature, or other written resource to students to pique their interest and stimulate their curiosity.

  • Establishing relationships. It's valuable for you to demonstrate how a lesson is related to other lessons. Students must understand that no single lesson exists apart from other lessons, but has a relationship with other previously presented material.

  • Organizing graphically. Use graphic organizers (charts, graphs, or outlines of the essential information in a lesson) to provide students with a pictorial representation of the major points in a lesson and how those points are related to each other.

  • Stating the lesson objectives. Often students perceive a lesson as something a teacher concocts on the spot. Unfortunately, that perception sends a signal that lessons are not designed with students' needs and interests in mind. It's vital, therefore, to let your students know exactly what they will be taught and what you plan to have them learn. When students are aware of the objectives, they will be able to understand the direction and scope of a lesson and work with you in achieving those learning experiences.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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