Lesson Plan FAQ

Commonly Asked Questions About the Saint Leo Lesson Plan Format and Lesson Expectations

Do I have to write out all the wording of the standard, benchmark, and GLE?

Yes. They allow you to see what the broader goals for your lesson are. Don’t forget to identify the grade level of the GLE. If a GLE for your grade level is not appropriate, you may use a GLE from a "neighboring" grade, i.e., a fifth grade GLE for a fourth grade lesson.

How specific should my objective be?

It should describe the performance expected by the students by the end of the lesson and evaluated in the assessment. It should have a measurable verb that describes how students will demonstrate their knowledge or skill. The conditions (an essay, a worksheet) may or may not be needed in the objective but must be clear in the assessment.

What if my objective for the day's lesson isn't exactly related to the benchmark or GLE and I can't find a better one?

Ask someone to help you. If the objective is really a good objective, there is usually a way to tie it to the state standards. If not, you may need to reconsider the lesson focus. Think about why you want them to learn what you are teaching them. Sometimes the connection to the benchmark is there in a related way, but a specific GLE that exactly defines your lesson is not. For example, you want to teach your third graders about the layers of the earth. You cannot find that exact GLE, but you find the standard (processes that shape the earth). The primary benchmark says "solid materials that cover the Earth come in all sizes" and the intermediate benchmark says "larger rocks break down and form smaller rocks." None of the GLEs from grade two-four state exactly about the layers of the earth. So you need to ask why you are teaching the layers of the earth and connect the lower level knowledge level outcome of memorizing the layers to a higher level outcome of understanding how the layers got the be the way they are in relation to weathering, pressure, and time. You could use the 2nd grade GLE "Further refines knowledge that the surface of the Earth is composed of solid materials" and be sure to bring into your opening or closure why they are learning the names and characteristics of the layers. Your objective can then be "students will label the Earth’s layers and identify one characteristic of each layer."

Does the SLU template work for any kind of lesson?

Generally yes. However, reading comprehension, fluency, estimating and predicting, and most writing skills that are developed with practice do not easily fit into this one to two day type lesson format and students would be wise to avoid writing a formal lesson focused mainly on such developmental skills.

Can the plan be written for more than one day?

Yes. Although most elementary lessons are one period long, some lessons will go over two or possibly three days. Just include in the Procedure where Day 1, Day 2, etc. will begin.

Do I have to include everything I will use or do in the Resources & Preparation?

Only what illuminates the details of what you are using and can serve as a reminder to you. Thus, writing down "whiteboard" or "markers" if they are always there is not necessary, but writing "copy attached worksheets" is. Anything "attached" need not have details; anything not attached should have sufficient detail so the reader knows exactly what is being used. Saying "a bag with pictures and objects starting with /ch/" is not enough for the reader or for you to know exactly what you are going to have.

How many vocabulary words do I need and should I include review words?

Usually a typical elementary lesson will focus on three or four new vocabulary words, though this can vary with age and content. You do not need to include concepts that you review, whether in your opening or during the lesson, that you know for sure are a review. If unsure, include! Be sure to write the definitions of the new words in age-appropriate language. You may need to revise dictionary definitions and sometimes even the ones in the student textbooks.

How will I know how much to plan for based on the amount of time I have?

You will learn as you gain experience. Always find out the amount of time you will have if you are going to be teaching the lesson. It is usually safe to over plan within reason; especially plan plenty of examples. Having your plan checked by your seminar and/ or methods instructors before teaching will help you learn how to judge how long to allocate for different activities.

Should I ever write verbatim what I plan to say and how much detail should I have in the Procedure?

Generally, no. Focus on what you and the students will do. Sometimes in the Opening and the Closure you do write verbatim: for example, your motivating opening way to relate to their past experiences or your questions you will ask in the closure. You do not need to use quotation marks.

Remember to write the statements in command form (verb first) and keep them brief so you can follow. However, they also need to be specific and include content and procedural details.

In the Body you will sequence your bullets (or numbers) in a step-by-step manner that includes the details of the examples you will use. You can attach a separate sheet with the examples listed; just say "(see examples attached)." Similarly if an activity the students will engage in requires more than a brief description; attach a separate explanation of it. If details are already provided in the Resource list or definitions in the Vocabulary, you do not need to repeat them in the procedure, but do tell how you will define, explain, etc., i.e., use sentence strips, overhead projector, whiteboard. Tell what students will be doing and any logistics as needed; for example if half way through the procedure you want the students to come to the front and sit in a small group.

What is the underlined sentence "Method being used" next to the BODY?

Circle the method for which your lesson is an example. Block I students will circle Direct Instruction. In Block II you review direct instruction and learn Guided Discovery (also called Indirect Instruction). Block III lesson plans can be any of the three types: Direct Instruction, Guided Discovery, and/ or Cooperative Learning. If you think your lesson may be a combination of two methods, circle both.

How much of the focus of the lesson should I go into in the Opening?

Usually very little. The Opening is to set the stage, let the students know why and what they will be doing and how it relates to their past learning and experiences. Once you start giving definitions, or pulling definitions and examples from them, you are into the Body.

If I see while I am teaching that I need to change my procedure because students aren’t following or are bored, should I do so? Will I be "penalized" if I am being observed by my university supervisor?

Absolutely, make changes as you feel are needed. When you write up your Lesson Evaluation at the end, you will describe the changes you made and why you made them. A Lesson Plan is a plan. You cannot always be sure it will be right and it is much better to do the best you can to make a change, add more or less review, etc. than to feel you have to "stick to the plan."

What can I do for a Closure that isn’t just asking the same questions I already asked two or more times in the lesson?

Sometimes, a closure is the "reporting" of what the students have just completed as part of the activity of the lesson. As they report their results, you can ask follow-up questions that get them to defend their decisions. It is also a good time to get back to the purpose of the lesson and how they think they will use it. Asking questions about the process used during the lesson (especially in math and science) can also be a part of a review. Although usually it is ineffective to ask "any questions?" there are times this can work (usually with older, more advanced learners). Plan at least two high level questions using Bloom’s taxonomy that ask for an analysis and/ or evaluation of the content or skill they have just learned; perhaps a connection with something similar they have learned and ask for the similarities and differences.

How will I show Content Knowledge, especially if it is a Kindergarten or first grade lesson?

The details found in your Vocabulary and in your examples you use demonstrate your knowledge of the subject. Good examples are critical to a good lesson and you have to plan them, not just expect the students to give them. Also, the steps of the Body show your understanding of the appropriate sequence of learning content. That is one reason why you need details. For the intermediate grades, you may have prepared an overhead transparency or a chart (attach a copy of the transparency and describe the content on any charts in an attachment). Sentence strips are often used in the primary grades; attach the list of what they say.

How much do I need to say in the Assessment?

We are using the term "Assessment" to mean the assignment that will assess the student’s mastery of the objective. You may want to rewrite what the assessment skill is (usually the same as or very similar to the objective) and then describe the assignment or attach it. If you are attaching a copy of a test or worksheet each student will complete, all you have to do is say "Students will complete attached worksheet immediately after the lesson (or whenever they will complete it)." It is helpful to add what you expect in terms of your definition of mastery. For example, "Students should receive 80% or higher." If they will be completing an activity that is an assessment (for the purposes of formal lessons, you need to plan formal assessments), describe the activity in detail and how you will evaluate it. Deciding in advance what your expectations are for student outcomes allows you to tell the students, in an age-appropriate way, exactly what you expect them to include and how their grades will be determined.

How much detail do I need in the Accommodations?

If you are a Block I student you need to only plan accommodations for your ELLs. After Block I, plan for ELLs, ESE, and gifted. For example, if you have a hearing impaired child, what will you do for him/ her or what will you do that your teacher also does? Even if you have only one student with special needs for each category or even if you don’t have any, what would you do? For ideas, see the ESOL link on the department website. Sometimes the plan itself already strongly meets good accommodations strategies, so say how (very interactive, many visuals, real concrete objects). Even if the procedure is supportive of students with special needs, often the assessment is not, so describe how you might make accommodations on the assessment and then be prepared to actually do so. Plan how you would logistically make the accommodation without drawing attention to the student(s).

Do I have to have websites for both the teacher and the students listed? Should I attach a copy of the site homepage or the lesson plan I used from a website?

Generally, yes, list sites for both teacher and students. Sometimes you will have a software program instead of a website for student use. Sometimes the site is the same for both teacher and students because it is an explanation or demonstration of concepts. Write a brief one-sentence description of what the site has, along with the address, under Technology. Most instructors do not require you to attach a copy of the site. However, if you have used a lesson plan extensively from a site, you should copy it and attach it so the instructor can see how you adapted it to your needs and the SLU format.

When teaching, if you can’t actually use the student site during the lesson, plan to use it later in the week or later the same day at the computer lab. At a minimum, write the site on the board for the students to go to it when they complete their work either in the classroom (if available), lab, home, or public library.

How long should the Lesson Evaluation be?

Usually it will take at least one full single-spaced page to answer all questions with examples from your lesson. Use the template and keep each question in and address each question. See the examples of plans and evaluations provided by your seminar instructor or on the website so you have an idea of what is expected. The Evaluation is just as important as the plan. You will learn so much from every plan you write, teach, and evaluate. It takes time to write that Evaluation, so write it as soon after teaching as possible so you can recall important details and examples. Remember to add a couple of sentences about which Accomplished Practices you demonstrated in this lesson and why you chose the ones you did.