Lesson Plans for High School
Teaching in high school has some unique challenges for the classroom teacher. You are no longer teaching children, students are soon to be adults, so your approach to lessons should take that factor into consideration when you create your lesson plans. By far, the majority of your students are looking forward to college preparation, SATS, and other assessment exams and that fact has to be incorporated into your plans as well.
Determine Your End Result
What knowledge do you want your students to leave the class with? This will be your main goal or purpose of the lesson plan. It is important that you define this goal clearly in your mind. The result of your lesson has to be skill oriented and it has to be measurable. This point has to be very specific and easy for the student to grasp. Your students should be able to walk out of the classroom knowing they can use what they've learned that day.
Break it Down Into Different Steps
The Do Now: The purpose of the “do now” phase of the lesson is to motivate the students and get them interested in the subject. This phase of the lesson could be as short as 10 minutes.
The Mini Lesson: This is the teacher’s opportunity to give the core instruction of the skill or material they want the students to learn. Teachers may use samples of completed lessons or they may use step by step instructions on how to complete the lesson. It is at this phase that key concepts should be explained and demonstrated. Use both good and bad examples of the particular lesson to make sure that they not only understand what was done right but also what are the common mistakes that others have made.
While you’re giving this phase of the instruction it would be a good idea for students to have some form of activity to keep them mentally focused on the subject. Many teachers instruct their students to engage in a specific style of note taking or a speculation. This will also help the students to retain the information needed for the next phase of the lesson.
Teacher Guided Practice
This phase is the point where the students start hands on practice of the given lesson. In this phase students can work in groups, pairs, or as individuals. Teachers will have this time to observe how much of the information was retained by the instruction. As the teacher walks along the classroom they could give additional help when needed and concentrate on keeping the students on task.
Each lesson should also have an assessment phase that will reveal whether the lesson was a success or not. The assessment should reflect the objective and whether or not students were able to complete the task that was assigned to them. Lessons don’t always go as planned so teachers need to be flexible in their lessons and have an alternate lesson or skill to help students to grasp the concepts they may have missed.
Another phase of a well designed lesson plan is to have students openly discuss the topic as a group. This allows for the teacher to see which students have successfully mastered the lesson and which ones need additional help. Always follow through with a homework assignment to reinforce the lesson in the student’s minds.
The final phase of a lesson plan is after the students have left the classroom. While the information is still fresh, it is important for the teacher to take notes and analyze each part of the lesson to see what worked and what didn’t. Did you run out of time? Did they have a hard time grasping certain concepts? Were there challenges that some students faced? Reflection helps you to see if your lesson plans worked well or if they need adjustment.
Learning how to create effective lesson plans is a skill that every teacher should master and at each level teachers meet different challenges. Students at the high school level are often nearing adulthood and will want to be viewed as such so keep that in mind when creating your lessons. Take into consideration the many different backgrounds and cultures that each student brings to the classroom and you’ll see how effective those lessons will be in dispensing valuable information.