Module Three: Preparing a Lesson in High School for K-12
How Do I Know Where to Begin?

As a high school teacher, you are not responsible for deciding the scope and sequence of a course. You are provided the overall objectives and goals of the course along with a general overview of the time involvement for the concepts and understandings. Each state department of education establishes required curricula that can be used if a local curriculum document is not available. The required curricula for Texas can be accessed at:

The Lesson Plan

The lesson plan which can be for one class period or extend over a period of time is the actual road map teachers follow to provide learning assignments and projects to students. A beginning for any teacher in lesson design is the actual assessment that will administered at the conclusion of the activity.  After all, we need to know what we want students to know and be able to do at the end of each lesson. This may seem backwards in the approach, and it actually is!  Understanding by Design, by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, outlines a simple three-step process, known as backward design, for teachers to follow.

The teacher identifies the desired results, (the understandings the students will need to have at the completion of the lesson), determines acceptable evidence (the assessment outlining the content for students to understand and apply), and then plans the learning experience (the problem-solving, activities, and assignments the students will complete in order to reach understanding of the content) (McTighe & Wiggins, 2005). This process allows the teacher to keep the learning objective in the forefront of their planning. Generally the activities are some of the most enjoyable components of lesson planning and the part that teachers can express their personal creativity and unique "spin" on the content.

What Are Some Key Questions to Answer in Lesson Development?

To begin lesson develop, begin by asking yourself some basic questions:

  1. What is the key understanding, main idea, or overall concept of the lesson?
  2. What exactly do students need to learn in this lesson?
  3. What exactly do students need to understand and be able to do at the end of this lesson?
  4. How can I determine what, if anything, my students know about the topic or have any preconceived perceptions about it?
  5. How will I introduce the topic?
  6. What will I do to demonstrate, illustrate, or illuminate the topic?
  7. How can I design the lesson to ensure that my students are engaged in the topic?
  8. What are some relevant connections, analogies, topics, and examples that can help students understand the topic better?
  9. What will struggling students need to help them comprehend the topic better?
An effective lesson plan is a general outline of your assessment, student learning objectives, and activities. Unlike the syllabus, which reflects the contract between the teacher and the student, the lesson plan is the teacher’s blueprint for instruction.  Although the lesson may not go exactly as planned, it will guide the teacher in the presentation of the learning objectives and can be revised as needed.
Reference List
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