How to Write a Lesson Plan

A lesson plan allows teachers to chart the instructional techniques they will follow to ensure students reach the learning goals for the lesson. While different teachers prefer different styles of lesson plan templates, there are several basic steps that most lesson plans include.

Write the objective. An objective should be something that you can observe and measure. "The students will understand or know..." is not an observable objective. The objective should also include the criteria and conditions under which the student will carry out the task. An example including all parts of the criteria for an objective is, "Given 20 vocabulary words, students will write a short story that correctly uses 80% of the words." A lesson may have more than one objective.

Write the materials needed for the lesson. Do not include obvious items like pencil and paper.

Add specific procedures for the lesson. A typical lesson based on Madeline Hunter's model will include an anticipatory set, input of new material, modeling with a check for understanding, guided practice, independent practice, and a closing. Many steps overlap and repeat between the anticipatory set and the independent practice.

Add the assessment section to the lesson plan. Assessment can be formal, such as a piece of written work or a test, or informal, such as a closing activity where students respond verbally to a series of questions. The purpose of assessment is for the teacher to check the students' mastery of the lesson objectives.

List modifications that are required for special student populations, such as English language learners, gifted students, or students with learning disabilities.


A lesson plan should contain enough detail that a substitute teacher could follow the plan easily without contacting you with questions. A lesson plan could cover more than one class period, based on the complexity of the objectives.

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