Effective Practices

Develop Effective Lesson Plans



Burning Questions

Should the textbook be used for guidance in creating lessons?

At times teachers rely heavily on textbooks or adopted instructional resources for lesson guidance and often times textbooks are not completely aligned to the course curriculum. Adoptions can be in place for up to ten years. Sometimes the material is outdated and no longer aligned; ensure the materials are aligned to curriculum standards. It is a great idea to use pre-created resources when possible, but not at the expense of lesson, unit, or assessment alignment. Teachers may need to use a variety of resources to successfully meet the expectations of the curriculum standards.

How can time be managed when executing a lesson?

A common challenge for teachers is time management when executing a lesson. Double Plan to anticipate student actions to proposed learning activities and always plan more learning activities than there is time to complete them. It is easier to remove activities from a lesson plan than to add quality learning experiences in the moment that meet the rigor of the learning objective. When determining how to adjust for time, remember the closing is an important piece to the lesson. Be sure to reserve enough time for this portion of the lesson cycle. Sometimes time runs out and/or a transition must happen. Account for transitions in the planning of lessons and units. A Pacing Tool can assist in keeping track of time during a lesson.

Should fun be incorporated in lesson activities?

It is easy to choose activities that are engaging for students but effective teachers select activities that are both engaging and aligned to learning targets. While it is important that students enjoy learning and are invested, it is important that activities are meaningful and support the learning objective. Lessons should not be created around the activity, but rather in support of the learning standards.

Quick Tips

When planning learning activities, the WHERETO elements used in Understanding by Design are helpful in making instructional decisions.

The lesson plan is only as good as its execution. Refer to the plan created during learning activities to stay on track.

Discuss within the PLC learning activities or strategies to foster student engagement and depth of learning. Use this opportunity to explore options for checkpoints throughout the lesson.


HISD Lesson Planning Guide