Teaching 101: A Crash Course - How to Plan/Deliver a Lesson
Whether you are Type A, or fly by the seat of your pants, or somewhere in between, every lesson you teach needs to have some element of planning. If you're here, it's likely because you are stumbling into an At-Home Learning program and have no idea how to effectively deliver a lesson. While some schools require formal, written lesson plans for every lesson taught and others are more lax, the bottom line is that your lessons should have a structure with objectives. I won't dive deep into pedagogical theory - let's just get to the good stuff.
Use a Planner
When starting out, I recommend practicing designing lessons using a planner. This will help you familiarize yourself with the general structure of a lesson until you feel comfortable. Once you feel comfortable, you really do not need to write out the plans in great detail (unless, of course, you want to!).
Here are some different planning templates you can practice with:
Canva - make your own on Canva!
Teacher Planet - a variety of lesson plan templates to choose from
Lesson Plan - OISE --> This one is VERY detailed
Algonquin College - Editable PDF Template
Use the curriculum documents to pick 1-2 key expectations or learning objectives that you want to work towards. Picking too many can be overwhelming, although sometimes you can achieve this successfully by planning a cross-curricular assignment or task (a lesson that combines more than one subject area). For example, a writing activity about science might cover expectations about procedural writing as well as the life cycle of a butterfly. This is a great way to cover multiple expectations in one assignment!
Tip: Post the learning objectives somewhere as you teach (write them on chart paper or a whiteboard) so your child knows exactly what they are working on. You can use the term "W.A.L.T." which means, "We Are Learning To" followed by the objective in kid friendly language. (i.e. W.A.L.T. identify and describe the three levels of Canadian government).
Minds On or Hook (5-10 minutes)
Before jumping into your lesson or task, introduce the topic! It can be as simple as reminding your child what they worked on the day before and re-discussing the learning from that day, or perhaps reading a related story or watching a video on the topic. Until you get more comfortable, keep it simple! This step helps to get kids in the zone for what they will be focusing on. It activates any prior knowledge and will benefit them during the lesson or activity.
Tip: Don't have a big story library at home? Many storybooks can be found on YouTube! Stories are a great way to introduce topics to ANY age group!
Lesson (time varies, around 10-20 minutes)
If you plan on doing frontal teaching (standing in front of the child with a slideshow or presentation), keep it short and sweet. They say that the attention span of a child is their age plus a few minutes. If your child is 7 years old, I would recommend capping your frontal lesson at 10 minutes, otherwise you will lose their attention! The lesson itself should cover the key information needed to achieve the expectations (what do they need to know by the end of the lesson?). If you plan on a more engaged style of teaching and learning - the student is solving a problem in order to learn the information or they are doing research to learn a concept more independently - they may be engaged longer in the task and that is definitely okay, too!
Follow-up Activity (time varies)
If you did a frontal lesson, you should plan for a short follow-up activity. It can be as simple as a worksheet that takes 10 minutes to complete or as complex as an independent research project that the student will be working on for a week. Regardless, the follow-up activity should be able to let you see their understanding of the concepts learned. Their work should inform you about whether or not the concept needs to be reviewed in more depth.
Consolidation (5 minutes)
Consider this a debrief after the task is complete. Think, so.. what did we learn? This can be as simple as a summary conversation or discussion led by simple questions or an exit ticket. This is the last opportunity to see how your child grasped, or perhaps did not grasp the concepts covered.
If you are stuck, want some ideas or need help planning a lesson, please reach out for support! I am here to help :) Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!