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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 children. There may be requirements mandated by the school system regarding the plan.
While there are many formats for a lesson plan, most lesson plans contain some or all of these elements, typically in this order:
A well-developed lesson plan reflects the interests and needs of students. It incorporates best practices for the educational field. The lesson plan correlates with the teacher's philosophy of education, which is what the teacher feels is the purpose of educating the students.
Secondary English program lesson plans, for example, usually center around four topics. They are literary theme, elements of language and composition, literary history, and literary genre. A broad, thematic lesson plan is preferable, because it allows a teacher to create various research, writing, speaking, and reading assignments. It helps an instructor teach different literature genres and incorporate videotapes, films, and television programs. Also, it facilitates teaching literature and English together. Similarly, history lesson plans focus on content (historical accuracy and background information), analytic thinking, scaffolding, and the practicality of lesson structure and meeting of educational goals. School requirements and a teacher's personal tastes, in that order, determine the exact requirements for a lesson plan.
Unit plans follow much the same format as a lesson plan, but cover an entire unit of work, which may span several days or weeks. Modern constructivist teaching styles may not require individual lesson plans. The unit plan may include specific objectives and timelines, but lesson plans can be more fluid as they adapt to student needs and learning styles.
The first thing a teacher does is create an objective, a statement of purpose for the whole lesson. An objective statement itself should answer what students will be able to do by the end of the lesson. Harry Wong states that, “Each [objective] must begin with a verb that states the action to be taken to show accomplishment. The most important word to use in an assignment is a verb, because verbs state how to demonstrate if accomplishment has taken place or not.” The objective drives the whole lesson, it is the reason the lesson exists. Care is taken when creating the objective for each day’s lesson, as it will determine the activities the students engage in. The teacher also ensures that lesson plan goals are compatible with the developmental level of the students. The teacher ensures as well that their student achievement expectations are reasonable.
A lesson plan must correlate with the text book the class uses. The school usually selects the text books or provides teachers with a limited text book choice for a particular unit. The teacher must take great care and select the most appropriate book for the students.
The instructor must decide whether class assignments are whole-class, small groups, workshops, independent work, peer learning, or contractual:
These assignment categories (e.g. peer learning, independent, small groups) can also be used to guide the instructor’s choice of assessment measures that can provide information about student and class comprehension of the material. As discussed by Biggs (1999), there are additional questions an instructor can consider when choosing which type of assignment would provide the most benefit to students. These include:
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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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