Huntington University is a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana

writing lesson plans 

Introductory Page 

Dr. Stephen D. Holtrop 

Huntington University 

There are only a few essential elements of a lesson plan:

  1. Objectives--what students will be able to do as a result of the lesson
  2. Standards--which state content and developmental standards are addressed in the lesson
  3. Procedures--what the teacher will do to get the students there
  4. Assessment opportunities--what the teacher can do to see if the lesson was taught effectively: watching students work, assigning application activities, getting feedback, etc. (Can include both formal and informal assessment and both formative and summative evaluations.)
  5. Modifications/accommodations for any special needs students in the class

Additionally, many lesson plans also include:

  • Materials needed for the class period and any special equipment
  • Time estimates
  • Procedural subpoints 

A Starting Point

Madeline Hunter lesson plan format:

(Seven-element format: just one way to structure a lesson; developed for math classes)

  • Anticipatory Set (setting the stage)--attention-getter and focuser
  • Statement of Objectives--tell students what they'll be able to do as a result of the lesson
  • Instructional Input--lecture, but not necessarily lecture: demo, explanation, instructions
  • Modeling--demonstrate, show what you tell
  • Check for Understanding--watch faces, ask questions
  • Guided Practice--help students start practicing new skills, applying new knowledge
  • Independent Practice--turn them loose to work on their own, homework assignment, etc.

Click here to see a sample history lesson plan (scaled down) and its seven labeled parts. 

Other Lesson Formats:

Discovery Lesson

(e.g., lab)
  • Equipment
  • Set the stage
  • Don't state objectives yet
  • Give instructions
  • Check for understanding
  • Guided practice (lab)
  • Discussion, regrouping
  • Statement of objectives
  • Independent practice (e.g. lab journal)
  • Assessment

Group Work

(e.g., coop learning)
  • Equipment
  • Set the stage
  • State objectives
  • Give instructions
  • Check for understanding
  • Group work
  • Guided practice
  • Discussion
  • Regrouping
  • Summary
  • Assessment

Mini Cycles

(e.g., vocabulary lesson)
  • Equipment
  • Set the stage
  • State objective
  • Cycles:
    • Instruction
    • Check for understanding
    • Guided practice
    • Instruction
    • Check for understanding
    • Guided practice
    • etc.
  • Independent practice
  • Assessment

Other stuff quality lessons include:

Bloom's Taxonomy and Critical Thinking

Application—use, practice
Analysis—dissect, generalize Synthesis—create, combine Evaluation—appraise, value

Multiple Intelligences (Howard Gardner)


Instructional Scaffolding (Jerome Bruner; Langer & Applebee)

Ownership--wish to learn
Appropriateness--right level
Support--structured guidance
Internalization--independent practice
Click here for sample lesson plan with Bloom's Taxonomy levels labeled.  Click here for sample lesson plan with Multiple Intelligences labeled. Click here for a sample lesson plan with Instructional Scaffolding components labeled.


Links to other Lesson Planning pages:

Anatomy of a Lesson Plan: Seven Elements of a Lesson Plan (Hunter)

Anatomy of a Lesson Plan: Critical Thinking (Bloom's Taxonomy)

Anatomy of a Lesson Plan: Multiple Intelligences--7 Ways of Knowing (Gardner)

Anatomy of a Lesson Plan: Instructional Scaffolding (Bruner; Langer & Applebee)

Teachers' Roles: What happens to learning with different teacher behaviors?

Seating Arrangements: How do different classroom arrangements affect learning?

Sailing Lessons: See how teaching sailing is broken down into lesson components

Spoonfeeding: Don't! 

You can do a Google search on "lesson plans" (millions of sites!). So narrow your search; e.g., "chemistry lesson plans". Or click on one of the lesson plan web sites below:

Lesson ideas, any subject, Teachnet

The Educator's Reference Desk  

(Be sure to give credit for borrowed ideas if you're doing lesson plans for a class!)