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Topic

Lesson
Planning

LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

1.

State the purpose of lesson planning;

2.

Discuss important aspects to be considered in lesson planning;

3.

Discuss the important features of a science lesson plan; and

4.

Differentiate between a yearly, weekly and daily lesson.

INTRODUCTION

A teacher who plans a detailed lesson will be able to inspire pupils learning and
generate success. Comprehensive plans increase the likelihood that lessons run
smoothly, so that pupils receive quality instruction. In doing so, the aims and the
learning outcomes stated will be able to be achieved.
However, there are times when following a thoroughly well planned lesson will
not guarantee that learning will happen. This is because there are a lot of factors
that influence teaching and learning in a class.
In this topic, you will be studying the concept of a lesson plan and the aspects
that need to be considered while thinking and writing a lesson plan. You are also
going to be looking at how a lesson plan for a science lesson should be designed
so that the aims of science education will be achieved. Then you are going to
explore the purpose of different levels of lesson plans.

X TOPIC 1

1.1

LESSON PLANNING

LESSON PLANNING

Planning is a complex yet essential part of the teaching process that changes over
time as teachers gain more hands-on experience. A beginning teachers lesson
plan would certainly look different from that of an experienced teachers. As you
begin teaching, you will need a detailed, written lesson plan. But as you gain
experience you may just need a brief lesson plan in conducting a lesson
successfully. What may take a beginner teacher two pages to explain might be
covered in a post-it note for an experienced teacher. Although time consuming,
it is important for beginner teachers to focus on details as it can help to see the
lesson in its entirety.

1.1.1

The Purpose of a Lesson Plan

The lesson plans that you will be developing will be designed to communicate
first and foremost to you, as the teacher. They will be your guide and map for
organising your materials and yourself for the purpose of helping your pupils
achieve your intended learning outcomes. A good lesson plan contains a set of
important elements that are descriptive of the process.
The format of a lesson plan is irrelevant as long as it is clear on what you want
and how you plan to achieve it. Remember, the best teachers are the ones who
are good planners and thinkers.
(a)

For the teacher


Primarily, lesson planning will benefit the teacher in implementing
teaching and learning of a subject. When you plan the teaching session for
the whole year, refining it week after week and finally detailing the
instruction daily, you are sure to achieve not only the learning outcomes
but the aims and goal of the science curriculum. The analogy is like when
you can see not only how the whole house looks like, but you can also
describe how many rooms there are in the house, and even the layout of
each room.

(b)

For the pupils


Needless to say, the pupils will benefit well from a well-planned lesson.
Pupils will learn better when the instruction is carefully sequenced to their
needs and abilities. Carefully chosen activities will contribute to the
development of science concepts and skills.

TOPIC 1

(c)

LESSON PLANNING W

For the administrator


Apart from the teacher, the administrator will also benefit from the lesson
planning. They can use the planning if the teacher is sick and a substitute
teacher needs to handle the teaching. The substitute teacher will just carry
out the lesson as planned. Thus, teaching and learning for that class is not
disrupted. The administrator can also use the lesson plans as data to
evaluate the science curriculum. The performance of the teacher can also be
judged from her lesson planning.

ACTIVITY 1.1
It is said that teachers make over 200 decisions a minute. What might
some of these decisions be? Discuss with your classmates.

1.1.2

The Aspects to Consider while Planning a


Lesson

The aspects that you need to take into account when you are planning the lesson
for the whole year or for a week or a daily teaching session will be different. For
example, if you are planning for a year, you need not consider the prerequisite
knowledge of the pupils yet. If you are planning for the weekly or daily lessons,
you need to consider the strategies that you may use for a specific learning
outcome. We will be discussing in detail the aspects that need to be considered
for each level of lesson planning later.
Lessons do not occur in a vacuum. What you see, hear and read from your pupils
today should be directly reflected in what you teach tomorrow. They know their
needs so you should listen to your pupils and use it as feedback for your next
planning.
Many teachers fear the word data as they usually associate it with elaborate
research or study that they need to conduct to obtain the data. In actual fact, you
can collect data in many informal ways. When the pupils are doing their work,
you can observe them and take note on how they performed. You can listen
when they are discussing their work. You get information or data when you
analyse their journals, quizzes and homework. You can use such information to
figure out how your pupils have achieved the desired learning outcomes and
then these feedbacks can be taken into consideration when you plan the next
lesson.

X TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING

The following are some aspects that you may consider for lesson planning:
(a)

Know who your pupils are. The following information about your pupils
would be very useful when you are planning the lesson:
(i)

Ability level;

(ii)

Interest;

(iii) Attention span;


(iv) Prior knowledge and learning experiences;
(v)

Special needs; and

(vi) Learning preferences.


(b)

Know your content. It is important to research the subject matter that you
will be teaching. You should also use curriculum guides, textbooks and
other printed materials. You can visit web sites that are devoted to
curriculum frameworks and that will give you a lot of information relative
to your subject area.

(c)

Know the materials that are available to help you teach for success. Take
and keep an inventory of the materials and resources that are available to
you as a teacher. For example: technology; software; audio/visuals; teacher
mentors; community resources; equipment; manipulatives; library
resources; local guest speakers; volunteers; or any materials that can assist
you in teaching.

The following aspects need to be considered while you are planning a lesson.
Sequence them according to its importance.

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LESSON PLANNING W

Attention span of your pupils, age group, and diversity of learners.

Complexity of material and time requirements for each instructional


component.

Decisions concerning whether whole-class presentation, small groups, or


partners are best for teaching and learning a particular concept.

The best configuration of pupil groups for optimal learning, for example,
homogeneous or heterogeneous ability groups, complementary interests,
or personalities that work well together.

Activities that best facilitate the learning of each pupil.

Pre assessment of skills and background knowledge to determine what


pupils already know, what they need to know, and what their
misconceptions are.

Selection of regular and supplemental materials to augment learning.

Strategies for frequently monitoring and adjusting the lesson.

Source: Adapted from Cunningham, G. (n.d.). Chapter 7. Lesson plans and unit plans:
The basis for instruction. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/

1.1.3

The Important Features of a Science Lesson


Plan

Just like any other subject, science has to be thought in its own unique way. The
best way to learn science is to do science. When pupils do science, they
would be able to ask questions, carry out experiments, collect data, and look for
answers to the questions or ideas that they are testing. Young children should be
encouraged to observe or examine natural phenomena that can be studied over
time. In doing so, they are actively involved in teaching and learning. Active,
hands-on and pupil-centred inquiry is the core of a good science education.
To do science means pupils need to acquire the tools and ways of thinking that
enable pupils to build the science concepts. The tools are the scientific skills that
comprise of the science process skills and the manipulative skills.
Thus, teaching science is not just about teaching the science concepts but the
pupils need to acquire the skills of doing science. Due to this reason, science
lesson plans need to create opportunities for pupils to do hands-on activities.

X TOPIC 1

1.2

LESSON PLANNING

THE LEVELS OF LESSON PLANNING

You are given Science Year 5 to teach this year. What do you do before you go
into the classroom to teach? You need to plan the lesson starting with the yearly
lesson planning, then the weekly, and finally with the daily lesson plan when
you need to enter the classroom. Refer to Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Levels of lesson planning

Each level has its own purpose as described in Table 1.1.


Table 1.1: Purpose of each level of lesson planning
No
1

1.2.1

Level

Planning Purposes

Yearly

Content detail for the whole year

Determine the time table for the year

Arrange weekly activities

Maintain continuity of activities

Determine the learning activities procedure

Suggest the usage of teaching period in detail

Weekly

Daily

Yearly Lesson Planning

The yearly lesson plan is intended to give you an overview of the science
curriculum at a glance. It helps you to make sure that you complete all the topics
in the syllabus within the year as specified by the syllabus. This helps you to
keep track of the time so that you do not spend too much time on a particular
topic, which could result in not completing the syllabus. Thus, the curriculum
goals that you have set for the year will be met. In doing the yearly lesson plan,
you could also identify resources that you need to order, so that it is available
when you are going to teach that topic.
You could use the following steps to prepare the yearly plan:
(a)

Start by creating a blank table for your template. List the months, January
through December in the first column.

TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING W

(b)

Take your science curriculum specification for Year 5 and look at what
makes sense to teach in each month. In the rows at the top of the table, list
all of your content areas from your curriculum specification. For example,
Topic 3 needs more time, Topic 4 and 5 can be combined, and Topic 7
only needs one week to finish it.

(c)

Once the whole curriculum has been broken down into months in this way,
it will be easier to make sure that everything is covered. Check the yearly
plans frequently to see if it is being followed as planned. If not, modify the
plan so that it is recorded for the next school year.

(d)

The next step is to take the calendar and note the public holidays for that
year. Also note the special events that have been scheduled by the state
education department and your school. Calculate the total time that can be
used for teaching and learning.

(e)

Review Step 3 according to the real time that you have to carry out the
teaching and learning after considering the holidays and events. Now you
want to list the skills the pupils will be expected to learn, how it will be
taught and how it will be assessed. Making a place for assessment is crucial;
because instructional practices can be improved each year with the use of
assessments. You may then plan the suitable strategies for each particular
topic. This is to make sure that various strategies will be used throughout
the year so that learning science can be more enjoyable. More importantly,
you will be able to achieve the aspirations of the curriculum.

(f)

You could then plan extras such as projects and field trips when you see
that it fits into the curriculum. Fun projects can be justified when they meet
and are an extension of the curriculum standards.

Remember the saying, "make more and work less." The better you plan now, the
more time you will save in years to come.
You could use the following template (Table 1.2) or you could use your own.
Table 1.2: Example of a Yearly Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives
Theme :
Learning Area:
January
February
March

Learning Outcomes

Strategies

Assessment

X TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING

ACTIVITY 1.2
I took the text book and decided what were the most important things
to cover. Then I looked at the calendar and figured out how much time I
had to do it. Some chapters had to be combined to get the most
important material covered.
Does this teacher use the correct technique to plan the lesson for the
yearly lesson planning? Discuss.

1.2.2

Weekly Lesson Planning

A weekly lesson plan is an excerpt from the yearly lesson plan. You need to plan
the weekly lesson plan the week before. Here you refine the strategy chosen to
suit your pupils need and also you need to list the teaching and learning
resources that you need in order to carry out the lesson in that particular week.
For example, the pupils are going to carry out experiments on germination in the
following week. You need to soak the seeds at least overnight so that the pupils
can use the seeds in the experiment. So you need to collect different types of soil
during the weekend as the pupils will be conducting a lesson on the rate of
absorption of different types of soil.
Due to unforeseen circumstances you may need to change what you have
planned in the yearly lesson plan. You might have to change it as the resources
that you have ordered have not arrived so you need to postpone discussing that
particular topic.
The details in a weekly lesson plan could look like what is presented in Table 1.2.
Table 1.2: Format of Weekly Lesson Plan
Days and Time

Topics/ Learning
Objectives

Teaching and
Learning Methods

Teaching and
Learning Resources

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LESSON PLANNING W

SELF-CHECK 1.1
What is the detail present in the weekly lesson plan but not in the
yearly lesson plan?

1.2.3

Daily Lesson Planning

A lesson plan is a teacher's detailed description of the course of instruction for


one class. A daily lesson plan is developed by a teacher to guide class instruction.
Details will vary depending on the preference of the teacher, subject being
covered, and the need and/or curiosity of pupils. Lesson plans are not written
for teachers to read to the class. They are used to structure the lesson and to help
with the flow of the class, especially when something has occurred to distract
everyone, including the teacher.
Lesson plans are first of all a thinking process. This thinking process basically is
completed in four parts.
(a)

Determine the curriculum, that is, the learning outcomes for that session.
You may need to reword or rephrase the learning outcomes stated in the
curriculum to suit your pupils ability.

(b)

Determine what the pupils prerequisite idea that can lead into the new
concept of the day.

(c)

Determine ways to assist the pupils in learning the new curriculum.

(d)

Determine ways to assess the learning outcomes of the pupils.

Figure 1.2 shows the cycle of the teaching and learning steps. When you have
determined what concept or skill you want to discuss, then you have to
determine the methods suitable to acquire them and how to determine that the
pupils have acquired them.

10

X TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING

Figure 1.2: Relationship among concepts to be learned, methodology and assessment

When you have all the answers you can start planning how to structure the
teaching and learning procedures.
Develop the introduction
Develop a creative introduction to the topic to stimulate interest and encourage
thinking. You can use a variety of approaches to engage pupils. Consider the
following questions when planning your introduction:


How will I check whether the pupils know anything about the topic or have
any preconceived notions about it?

What are some commonly held ideas (or possibly misconceptions) about
this topic that the pupils might be familiar with or might espouse?

What will I do to introduce the topic?

Plan the specific learning activities (the main body of the lesson)
Prepare several different ways of explaining the material (real-life examples,
analogies, visuals, etc.) to catch the attention of more pupils and appeal to
different learning styles. As you plan your examples and activities, estimate
how much time you will spend on each. These questions would help you
design the learning activities you will use:

TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING W

11

What will I do to explain the topic?

What will I do to illustrate the topic in a different way?

How can I engage the pupils in the topic?

What are some relevant real-life examples, analogies, or situations that can
help the pupils understand the topic?

What will the pupils need to do to help them understand the topic better?

Plan to check for understanding


Now that you have explained the topic and illustrated it with different
examples, you need to check for pupil understanding  how will you know that
pupils are learning? Think about specific questions you can ask pupils in order
to check for understanding, write them down, and then paraphrase them so
that you are prepared to ask the questions in different ways. Try to predict the
answers your questions will generate.
Develop a conclusion and a preview
Go over the material covered in class by summarising the main points of the
lesson. Conclude the lesson not only by summarising the main points, but also
by previewing the next lesson. How does the topic relate to the one thats
coming? This preview will spur pupils interest and help them connect the
different ideas within a larger context.
Source: http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p2_5

After you have implemented the lesson you need to reflect on your lesson plan.
It represents what you think worked, or what did not work, and why. It is meant
to give you some insight into practice and will hopefully help you to make
adjustments and modifications where necessary.
We will be discussing the format for writing the daily lesson plan in Topic 3 of
this module.

SELF-CHECK 1.2
Why is it important to plan the assessment while you are planning the
lesson?

12

X TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING

ACTIVITY 1.3
Get the science curriculum specification. Prepare a yearly lesson plan
and share it with your colleagues.

The lesson plan is a guide and map for organising your materials and
yourself for the purpose of helping your pupils achieve your intended
learning outcomes.

A good lesson plan contains a set of important elements that are descriptive
of the process.

The lesson plan can benefit the teacher, the pupils and the administrator.

Lesson plan helps the teacher to structure the lesson so as to achieve learning
outcomes and finally the aims of the curriculum.

Pupils learning becomes easier when the instruction is well sequenced and
suited to their abilities.

Knowing your pupils, the content and the materials are just some of the
important aspects that need to be considered when planning.

Science lesson plans need to include the method for teaching the concepts as
well as the science process skills.

The three levels of lesson planning are yearly, weekly and daily lesson plan.

Each level has its own purpose.

The main purpose of a yearly lesson plan is to distribute all the content of the
syllabus over the whole year of teaching.

The main purpose of a weekly lesson plan is to make certain the teaching
strategies and resources for each session for the following week.

The main purpose of a daily lesson plan is to determine the teaching


procedures step by step for one session.

The lesson starts with the introduction, development, assessment, and finally
closure.

TOPIC 1

LESSON PLANNING W

Closure

Learning outcomes

Daily lesson plan

Lesson planning

Development

Weekly lesson plan

Introduction

Yearly lesson plan

13

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http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p2_5

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