“Fail to plan? Plan to Fail.”
By ETM Instructional Supervisor Beth Buehlman
Lesson plans. You know what they say: “Fail to plan? Plan to fail.”
But what does a teacher’s lesson plan really need?
Lesson Plan Essentials
- Learning Target or Lesson Objective – A learning target is a short-term goal, or the thing you want your students to walk away from your lesson with. At the start of class, share the learning target with your students and continue to reinforce it throughout the lesson.
- Activities – Many students learn by doing, so make sure your lesson plan includes meaningful activities, several different opportunities for students to be exposed to and practice the skills taught in that day’s lesson.
- Assessment – Use assessments as status checks to see where a group or individual is at that moment in their learning journey. Assessments can be simple check-ins like, “do you understand?” or can be more involved. Decide what makes the most sense for you and your participants.
- Welcome and Wrap-up – Establish a routine that bookends your class period and helps signal students that the class is officially starting (the Welcome) and the class is officially ending (the Wrap-up).
- Materials – Plan ahead and make sure you have any and all materials needed so they are accessible at the start of class.
Bonus for New York Educators: Make sure your lesson meets the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts. Your lesson will cover a great number of standards, focus on 1 – 3 at a time. Save the rest for reinforcement or a preview of what’s to come!
- Practice Your Lessons – Until you do the lesson, you can’t know how long it will take, so practice your lessons ahead of time. This will help you determine your pacing (how fast or slow you need to go) and help you anticipate exactly how long each activity will take.
- Write a Script – If it’s a new lesson, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by the different elements of your lesson, scripting certain parts of your lesson might help you feel confident and stay on schedule.
MooToobMoosic Channel (Even if you don’t have a Music K-8 subscription, Plank Road Publishing has many videos that can be used to learn music concepts. And yes, even older students love these! My two favorites are Whacky Do Re Mi and Presto Largo.)
Music Teachers group on Facebook (So many great conversations and resources for all grade levels. Use the search feature to find past conversations and posts.)
Many of the National, State and Local professional organizations also have great resources on their websites, as well as Facebook groups.
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