How the Lesson Plan Works

Let me begin at the end.

Theme: See if you can structure a lesson around a central idea, so that everything done in the class that day connects in a fundamental way.

Materials: whatever has to be gathered before the class in order to be able to run it. Drawing paper for example or what’s needed for a particular process. ( I keep chests at home as well as a shelf from which materials can be quickly gathered.

Surreptitious Lesson: Usually an undisclosed motif, perhaps an extension of the theme, from the personal to the historic or shifting what ostensibly is one challenge but is really about another, more humanistic one. Or it may offer an unexpected turn into a fabulous lane of unexpected insight, maybe even a famous one.

Follow-up: What we used to call homework (or at-home work) but here less likely repetitive tasks and more likely research and prep for a presentation by the student who aims to word a statement that she believe applies.

It may also require a student to travel to something close by. On the Composition level designed by most colleges for improved writing, I used it to encourage learning about the town and the campus.

With this work clearly in mind, you are ready to begin your construction of the daily lesson.

Be careful to rotate presentation with some activity in which the student is active. I will call this experiential though in practice I’m including in-class writing, drawing, and notes not of the lecture but as a preparation for organizing students’ own thoughts. (Note: during class a student may have trouble saying what he’s trying to say. I made it expressly acceptible for a student to organize his ideas and try again later.)

Processes aim to be dynamic and interesting. Whatever the activity in some way it applies the intellectual ideas addressed in the presentation through learner-active decision-making tasks. Sometimes the process comes first, and discussion, reflection and presentation later.

The vertical line is a time line indicating what is expected to come next as you proceed down the page.

How many rotations depend on the age and sophistication of the learner group. I found that in High School more rotations were necessary to keep the class engaged, while at the University students added sophistication and diversity and consequently lengthened the time spent on each.

To try it yourself, click on the Download and you’re on your way. All rights relinquished.

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