Planning a Lesson

(60 minutes)

Developing effective lesson plans.

In this module you will:

  • reflect on the key elements of lesson planning.

  • identify an area of planning for development

  • plan for impact on pupil learning


(15 minutes)

Please read the notes, then look at the video clip and finish off by reading the checklist.

There may be different formats to lesson plans which may be presented on different templates, but the key issue remains. There is always a need to evaluate the impact of the plan on the learning.

Planning a Lesson

Individual lesson plans will be part of a wider series of lessons within an overall scheme/unit of work.

Each lesson adds to the overall picture and needs to be effective in enhancing pupil learning.

It is therefore important that each lesson is well designed.

Three key areas/elements to consider

  1. Are you clear on WHAT the pupils have to learn in this lesson?

  1. Are you clear on HOW the pupils are to learn?

  1. Are you clear on HOW YOU KNOW what the pupils are learning?

WHAT the pupils have to learn

This can be clearly stated as a Learning Intention.

It directs all other parts of the lesson as the purpose of the lesson is to achieve this goal.

Pupils should know what it is they are learning to do.

HOW the pupils are to learn

This involves planning for learning opportunities.

It includes the teacher interaction with pupils e.g. demonstrating, explaining and giving feedback.

It involves pupil activities which are designed to enable pupils to achieve the Learning Intention. An effective activity challenges pupils and provides the means whereby they engage with the processes of learning in an active way.

It involves a conclusion to reflect on what has been learned.

HOW YOU KNOW what the pupils are learning.

Teacher assessment of pupil progress is integral to planning the next steps in pupil learning.

The lesson needs to be designed to allow pupils to show what they know. The pupil activities should include this element.

Checklist for an Effective Lesson


  • Does the lesson plan relate to the sequence of teaching?

  • Does the planning demonstrate high expectations and challenge?

  • Is the plan appropriate for the learning needs of all groups of pupils?

  • Is there a ‘safe’ learning environment?

Start of the Lesson:

  • Does the lesson get off to a flying start?

  • Is there a recap of previous learning?

  • Are the learning objectives clear and appropriate in number?

  • Are the learning objectives shared?

  • Are the success criteria clear?

  • Is the learning real?

During the Lesson:

  • Is the teaching well paced?

  • Does the teaching hold learners’ interests?

  • Does the teaching meet a range of learning styles?

  • Does the teaching meet a range of abilities?

  • Does the teaching actively engage learners in the learning process?

  • Are learners given clear information and guidance throughout the lesson?

  • Is there paired or collaborative work?

  • Is questioning used effectively?

  • Are all learners actively involved?

  • Is clear feedback given on progress?

  • Is pupil knowledge and understanding increased?

  • Is there an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate increased knowledge and learning?

  • Are reading and writing skills developed?

End of the Lesson:

  • Are the learning objectives reviewed?

  • Are questions used to check what learning has taken place?

  • Is there feedback from teacher to pupils?

  • Is there pupil-to-pupil feedback?

  • Is there evidence of self-assessment?

  • Is the next lesson previewed?

  • Is the lesson brought to a clear close?


(20 minutes)

Use the Checklist for an Effective Lesson (above, or here) for the activity.

Review the lesson plan for a class you recently taught and using the Checklist, select a point from each section that you could focus on for improvement.


(20 minutes)

What will your next steps be? Take the opportunity to plan how you are going to use what you have learned in this session for future lesson planning.

  • What changes would you make?

  • Would these changes/improvements apply to other lessons?

  • When will you start to make these changes?

  • What impact do you think they will have on pupils’ learning?