How to Format a Lesson Plan

by Carmen Barnes

The backbone of every well-taught lesson is a thoughtfully organized lesson plan. Many lesson plan formats float in cyberspace, and some school districts prefer one format over another format. A well-structured lesson plan, however, includes the following: goal/objective, teacher input, guided practice, independent practice, assessment and closing. Once the lesson plan is written, the teacher has an outline that ensures every student is taught in a meaningful way.

Determine the goal and/or objective the lesson targets. Most states have standard courses of study or curricula, organized by grade level, stating goals and objectives that need to be covered.

Identify how the teacher facilitates learning. Take into consideration the students' various learning styles. Lectures, class discussions and hands-on activities are some examples of how to initiate the learning process.

Select the material that students will complete in a step-by-step practice session with instructor assistance. This is the guided practice part of the lesson plan. It offers many opportunities to use technology to demonstrate procedures or thought processes. The technology options include interactive white boards, computer software and overhead/computer projectors.

Describe the material students will complete independently. During this phase of the lesson plan, independent practice, you may consider the different needs or abilities of your students. Tiered lesson plans offer different levels of materials for students to practice based on their varying degrees of understanding. Independent practice time also allows the teacher to observe students or work with small groups of students either for remediation or acceleration.

State procedures or activities to assess students' understanding of the lesson. Tests, projects, presentations or general question-and-answer sessions are examples of typical assessments.

Create the lesson plan's closing. Summarize the lesson's key points, and describe additional materials or activities for students to complete. The closing provides an opportunity to answer questions or clarify misunderstandings for students.

About the Author

Carmen Barnes began writing professionally in 2005, and has been published in "Hopekeeper's Magazine." She is an educator and freelance writer with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Carmen holds two education certifications for elementary and academically and intellectually gifted students.

Photo Credits

  • at the lesson image by Dmitry Nikolaev from