February 14th, 2018

Writing a Teacher’s Partner Lesson Plan – 101

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Essentially, we use a modified Madeline Hunter lesson plan format.  Dr. Hunter argued that lesson plans, regardless of grade level or subject, have 8 elements that must be present.

With this, remember that this is not a formula that is written in stone.  All steps are not necessary in every lesson, and some lessons will use some elements more than once.

Step 1:  Subject

Exactly what it sounds like.  Be as specific as possible (Label an assignment “Biology” rather than “Science,” for example)

Step 2:  Topic

Here, we will list the precise skill being taught.  By way of example:

ELA:  Reading – Symbolism

Math:  Algebraic Reasoning – One-Step Equations

SS:  Government – Executive Branch

SCI:  Earth – Tornados

Essentially, we need to know specifically the broad and narrow skill that you are teaching.

Step 3:  Grade Level

For what grade level or grade band is the assignment intended?

Step 4:  Teacher

Insert your name, user name, or enter it as “Teacher’s Partners Content Development Team.” Note:  with option 3 we cannot pay you for your idea. 

Step 5:  Lesson Title

Give the lesson a name.  It should describe the content of the lesson.  For Example:

  1. Symbolism in Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”
  2. Solving  Simple Equations
  3. The Secretary of State and His/Her Role
  4. The Destructive Power of Tornados

Step 6:  Objectives

This is what you expect the student to know at the end of the lesson.  Typically, this is described in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy (modified 2001).  These are preceded by the Phrase “The student is expected to…

  1.  Remember
  2. Recognizing
  3. Recalling
  4. Understand
  5. Interpreting
  6. Exemplifying
  7. Classifying
  8. Summarizing
  9. Inferring
  10. Comparing
  11. Explaining
  12. Apply
  13. Executing
  14. Implementing
  15. Analyze
  16. Differentiating
  17. Organizing
  18. Attributing
  19. Evaluate
  20. Checking
  21. Critique
  22. Create
  23. Generating
  24. Planning
  25. Producing

Inflect these words as necessary to make your sentence grammatically correct.  This list is not all inclusive.  Numbers represent the 6 primary forms of knowledge; letters are subcategories

Step 7:  Standards

Leave this section blank.  We will provide access to individual state standards/Common Core, so this can be filled in by individual users.

Step 8:  Materials Used

This is a comprehensive lest of everything that is needed to teach the lesson.  This includes any multimedia or textual needs, plus, guided notes, worksheets, or anything else handed out.  If it is a lab, it would include a list of physical equipment needs.  If an assignment requires a ruler or calculator or anything beyond pen and paper, it must be listed here

On the subject of related content:  Whatever you use to help students understand this lesson should be developed.  If, for example, you’ve created tipsheet handouts to explain natural selection, include it as related materials.

Writing a Teacher’s Partner Lesson Plan Briefly, suggested related material includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Worksheets:  Can include traditional questions (multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer, etc.  They could also include instructions to draw something or otherwise explain an activity.
  2. Discussion Guides/Lecture Scripts:  Documents that tell a teacher what to say to best teach a lesson or notes to direct student discussion.
  3. Note-Sheets: Forms that a student is expected to write on directly in response to discussion.  Can be “guided” (i.e. fill-in-the-blank) or “big question” format.  In the “big question” format, we list questions that students are expected to answer from lecture.  This is an intermediary form.
  4. Tip-Sheets: Single Page sheets with basic info about topic being studied.
  5. Textual Demands:  These require some care.  Do not list specific textbooks.  Not all teachers use the same book.  Just list textbook chapters needed, such as chapter on photosynthesis for science.


This list is not conclusive.  Basically, anything that you use to teach the lesson needs to be created and added.

Step 9:  Duration

This is the amount of time needed to complete a lesson.  Note:  If a lesson will take longer than 5 60-minute sessions, use the scope and sequence form rather than the lesson plan form.

Step 10:  Anticipatory Set

This typically uses the first 5 minutes of the lesson.  Here, you attempt to either “hook” the student’s attention or to relate a student’s prior experience to the current lesson.

Possible Functions:

  1. Focus student attention on the lesson
  2. Create an organizing framework for the  information which is to follow
  3. Extent the understanding and application of abstract idea through the use of an example or analogy.

This is perhaps the most complex part of developing a lesson plan.  At least, it is the hardest part to do right.  It definitely stretches a teacher’s creativity.

One way to handle it is to think of teasers for a movie.  Enough info is provided to build interest, but no so much that it makes actually watching the movie unnecessary.

Just keep in mind that it needs to be short and it needs to make the students do something.

We like discussion here, but do what feels comfortable to you.  There are literally limitless possibilities.

Step 11:  Input

This explains how you will impart the info to the students.  It may be lecture, discussion, PowerPoint, video, pictures, or whatever you choose.

Step 12:  Modeling

Use your materials to show what is expected of students in their own work.  This is a walk-through of the material in the lesson.  Show students exactly what is expected in their own work.

Step 13:  Check for Understanding

Students must understand what is expected of them before they can practice it.  The only way to check for understanding is to ask questions.

Use Bloom qualifiers to form questions

Step 14:  Guided Practice

Let your student’s demonstrate their work while you watch (and help).  This can be done alone, in groups, or as a class.  This is an easy portion to skip, but it is important.  It allows errors to be corrected before they become ingrained.

Try to work this in to your lessons even if it requires an extra day.

Writing a Teacher’s Partner Lesson Plan

Step 15:  Closure

The book end of the anticipatory set.  It brings the lesson to an end.

Their Purpose:

  1. Cue students to the fact it is the end of the lesson
  2. Help organize student learning
  3. Help students form a clearer picture of what the lesson is all about

This can be as simple as asking students to explain what they learned.  Just use your imagination to come up with creative ways to send students on their way.

Step 16:  Independent Practice

Can be done for homework or seatwork.  Regardless, each student works on his/her own, using the skill they’ve been taught.

These can range from additional worksheets, to extension, to full blown projects.

Some General Notes

  • There are no hard and fast rules for lesson plans.  These steps were considered to be present in the best designed lessons by Dr. Hunter, and we want these incorporated into our lessons.  But… every lesson will not have or need every component.  Only use what is needed, in your experience, to teach the material the student needs to learn.
  • Be creative. We can’t emphasize this enough.  We have to be able to interest and engage students if we expect them to learn.
  • Remember, lesson planning is hard at first but it gets easier with practice.


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