Lesson Planning

Lesson plans help guide instruction and can be organized by day, week or even unit.

On this page:

What are the benefits of lesson planning?

A lesson plan can help:

  • Align learning outcomes with class lessons.
  • Organize course content.
  • Ensure there is time for instruction and planned activities.
  • Prepare instruction with available reference materials for each lesson or unit.
  • Serve as a guide for a teaching assistant to teach the course in your absence.

Standard components of a lesson plan

Although lesson plans can be adapted to fit the needs of a course, most should include:

  • Date(s) and time(s)
  • Learning objectives
    What you would like students to know or be able to do after the lesson?
  • Anticipatory sets/hooks
    Develop an introduction to the material that will capture the students’ attention.
  • Teacher modeling
    How will you demonstrate a specific skill or strategy?
  • Guided practice
    After introducing new content, provide students with an opportunity to work collaboratively to complete a task with faculty guidance.
  • Learning activities
    What activities will engage the students?
  • Independent practice
    Provide students with the opportunity to practice alone what has been presented in lecture.
  • Assessments
    These can be formative or summative in nature and help monitor student learning.
  • Resources
    What materials will be made available to supplement learning?
  • Reflection
    Choose an activity that will encourage learners to think about what they have learned or experienced and help make meaning of it.

Guidelines for developing a lesson plan

Wiggins and McTighe (2005) developed a comprehensive lesson-planning tool to guide faculty through lesson planning. The following guide and template have been adapted to apply to a higher education environment and include new important planning elements. The needs of your lesson plan will depend on the characteristics of your course.

Use the following steps and template as a starting point.

Additional resources

Literature