Lesson Plans for Teachers

Updated on Nov 18, 2011

Lesson Plans

As is the case with objectives and unit planning, lesson plans come in different varieties. Some schools adopt a style that all teachers are to follow. It may also be the case that in your student-teaching experience, there was (will be) a particular format that you were (are) supposed to follow. Of course, in these situations you will need to be sure to meet the expectations placed upon you. However, when it really comes right down to conceptualizing how you will teach something, the format must be something that works for you. We are not suggesting that you try to bamboozle anybody and slide your preferred lesson plan style by them. However, plan in a way that facilitates your work and then, if need be, you can write it out in a format that satisfies your other requirements. It will not be difficult to do because your plan will already have the necessary elements.

Traditional Lesson Plans

A traditional lesson plan is the generic format that is used in most introductory methods courses. It looks like this:



This unit begins with students identifying their ancestors, identifying their ethnic backgrounds, connecting historic events with the lives of their ancestors, and growing into their own unique personal identities, and leads to students developing a better understanding of the U.S. as a melting pot. We will focus upon the concept of immigration and relate the past to the current issues of immigration in the U.S.


The primary purpose is to foster an understanding that America is politically, ethnically, culturally, and economically a nation of immigrants. Study will focus on the motivations for immigration, the dangers of the journey to America, the challenges in adapting to a new world, and the development of a melting pot culture in this country.

Objectives (Days 1-5): The students will

  1. record and transcribe an interview of their families,

  2. provide documentation of immigrant ancestors,

  3. write an overview of the country after researching their country or countries of origin.


The main resources will be family interviews, documents, records, and pictures. For interviews, students may use tape recorders, digital cameras, notebooks, and pens/pencils.


Family Tree Activity

Students will trace the family tree, if possible as far back as their ancestors who were immigrants.

  • Diagram the family tree

  • Place of birth

  • Pictures (if available)

  • What brought them to the U.S.

  • Summary of their lives in the country of origin and in the U.S.

  • Research the history of U.S. immigration

  • Examples of customs, dress, music, religious traditions, etc.

  • Written overview of the country of origin (2-3 pages)

  • Family traditions that relate to ancestry

  • Report will be written and shared orally

  • This assignment can be a resource throughout the school year in teaching the history of the U.S.


The oral presentations and reports will be graded using two teacher-created rubrics.

Note that the objectives are written using behavioral verbs that indicate what the students will do (e.g., interview, seek, research, and write). Conceptualizing objectives in this way emphasizes student engagement in the lesson.

Some traditional forms also include other sections, such as "anticipatory set," "extensions," and "modifications." Another traditional lesson plan format is taken from Madeline Hunter's planning model. The basic format for that model is illustrated below.


  1. Anticipatory set: a brief activity or prompt that focuses student attention at the beginning of a lesson; can be a discrepant event, a handout, or focusing question
  2. Purpose: the objective(s), what is to be learned and/or what students will be able to do
  3. Input: procedure, what the teacher will do. Includes vocabulary and skills, etc.
  4. Modeling: what you will show or demonstrate so that the students understand what is expected of them, what a finished product will look like
  5. Guided practice: how you will lead the students step by step using the trimodal approach—hear/see/do
  6. Checking for understanding (CFU): using questioning strategies to find out if the students have achieved the objectives and to help you pace the lesson
  7. Independent practice: what students will do to practice on their own
  8. Closure: how you will end the lesson; can be a review or summary or the "L" part of a K-W-L
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