How to write a Great Lesson Plan from Scratch

Last Updated: 27 November 2023

Lesson planning is an essential activity for every educator to teach and determine how students will learn effectively.

As a teacher, you must be prepared and provide engaging lessons to students. A lesson plan is prepared before a class and can be for a single or weekly lesson or the entire unit. But coming up with a good lesson plan is difficult.

Even the most trained and experienced teacher will need help to develop one. For this reason, we have developed lesson-planning hacks and tips to help you.

1. Set Your Objectives

What do you intend to achieve at the end of the lesson? Engaging lesson plans must have a written objective, which is the foundation of effective teaching. An objective determines whether students have achieved what you had set out for them. It also helps you develop and select instructional materials.

A good objective must have the following characteristics that your lesson plan should have: (1) a clear description of what students will do, (2) a Condition for which students can perform a specific task, and (3) How you intend to evaluate the student's task.

To write objectives for your engaging lesson plan, do the following:


The following is an example of an effective lesson objective. At the end of this lesson, the students will be able to analyze and interpret a specific historical document and show their understanding.

2.  List the Instructional Materials

Instructional materials are resources or tools you use during a class. Each lesson requires tools or materials that will help you effectively teach students. This lesson planning hack ensures that you conduct the lesson smoothly and that students understand what you will teach.

Instructional and supporting materials include textbooks, pens, pencils, rulers, test tubes, markers, laptops, etc.

The type of tools you will need will depend on which lesson you are teaching. For instance, if you are a math teacher, you will carry different tools than a history teacher.

Instructional materials help provide the fundamental information students will learn and apply during the course. They can determine whether students will be engaged in your lesson. If you are still trying to decide what to bring to class, ask your students what they need to learn or understand a topic effectively.

3. Map Out Interactive Activities for the Lesson

In your engaging lesson plan, please describe the activities and exercises students can participate in during class. Mapping out interactive activities is essential to lesson planning hacks as it ensures interactive learning. Remember, it's easy for students to lose focus on how good you think you are, so it's best to develop activities and lessons that will keep them engaged.

When choosing these activities, ensure they engage students in a way that highlights their learning style. They should also be interactive and enhance the student’s creativity. Consider planning what your students will learn through these activities and exercises.

For instance, please use self-assessment activities like formative assessments to monitor their learning. You don’t have to be the only one giving feedback about your students; let them do that occasionally. Divide them into about four groups and let them participate in these activities.

Use these questions to help you come up with effective activities for your lesson.

4. Find Out What Is Expected from Your Administrator

School administrations are different in how they expect lessons to be carried out. So, it's essential to communicate with your school administrators before creating engaging lesson plans. Consider asking these questions:

Once you have answered these questions, you can do what is necessary to achieve these expectations. Also, make sure you understand the age of your students to know how to make the lessons more effective.

5. Work with Your Team

Speaking of your administration expectations– most school districts have more than one instructor for a grade level. If this is the same for your school, consider working with your team and sharing ideas about lesson planning hacks. If there are teachers with more tenure, see if they can share engaging lesson plans instead of starting from scratch.


6. Refer to Previous Lessons

Build on previous lesson plans and borrow some effective lesson planning hacks that worked for you or others in the past. You can even go back a few years, but check the course curriculum to ensure the material is relevant. Additionally, ask your students what they remember about a particular topic; this is a good way to promote long-term memory. Listen to what they have to say so that you can pick up on any misconceptions. Based on their answers, create engaging lesson plans that will address their concerns and focus on the gaps in knowledge.

7. Have a Hook

While asking students about their prior knowledge is important, beginning with a hook that sparks curiosity among your students is also essential. A hook could be an exciting story, a captivating video or image, or any mysterious object related to the day's topic. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it engages the students throughout the lesson.

Everyone likes a good visual because it is a great way to teach a complex concept. For instance, if you are a math teacher teaching about coding, you can begin the lesson by showing a video about a car racing video game to spark interest and warm their brains for complex math formulas.

8. Create a Timeline for Each Lesson

A lesson timeline will detail how long it takes to achieve the objectives. Ensure the timeline details how much time each instruction and student engagement will take. Furthermore, include the length of exams and other activities students will participate in.

Ensure your timeline includes the following features:

Instead of fitting everything all at once, divide the lesson plan into different days or weeks. This ensures you allocate enough time for all the important concepts, exercises, and activities.

9.  Consider How Your Students Learn

Knowing how students learn is a great lesson-planning hack to help you strategize your lectures. Students process and absorb information differently, so you must consider how they learn best. Are they auditory or visual? Do they learn best by working in groups or alone? This will also help you tailor your teachings to benefit every student.

As you create the lesson plan, focus on how every student can learn and best then modify it to fit students with disabilities or shortcomings.

10. List the Roadblocks

There is no such thing as the perfect lesson plan, which is why you need to anticipate challenges and address them. Some of these challenges to look out for include understanding that students are different. This means also knowing that they have different writing and reading styles. So, be flexible with the teaching methods you will apply throughout the lessons.

11. Create a Content Outline

Lesson planning can be complex, even if you are an experienced teacher. For this reason, it's essential to create an outline that will guide you through the engaging lesson plan. A content outline showcases the content of the course. An outline provides a roadmap for all the sections you intend to include in the lesson plan.

12. Write Out the Details

Now that you have all the essential details for an engaging lesson plan write a rough draft. This critical lesson planning hack will help you visualize how you want it to be. A rough draft will also help you identify any missing components that are essential for your lesson.

You can use a computer or a pen and paper to write a draft.

As you write this draft, keep the following in mind:

13. Spell Out Procedures in Your Engaging Lesson Plan

Procedures are the steps you must follow to complete a given project. It ranges from demonstration activities to explanations. Make sure you number the procedures to ensure you are following them correctly. This will also help you walk your students through the lesson plan and guide them to understand each task. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself at this stage:

As you can see, there is much to consider when writing the procedures. But all these will only be necessary if you write the lesson yourself.

14. Use Pops of Color

Just because you are creating an engaging lesson plan doesn't mean it should be boring. Use pops of color to make your lesson interesting and engaging. It can also help break up the design or use color code if you have multiple subjects.

15. Wrap Up the Lesson and Assign Homework

At the end of the lesson, provide a conclusion for everything covered in class. Ask questions as a refresher, then leave a preview of what will be covered next.

It's also important to assign homework for students to do outside the classroom to reinforce what they have learned in class. Some typical assignments to include in your lesson plan are:

Include these in your engaging lesson plan to maximize student retention of topics covered.

16. Teacher Reflection

This comes at the end of the lesson. At this stage, reflect on what you taught in class and whether you achieved the objectives. As you reflect, ask yourself the following questions:

This is a good opportunity to assess a measure of understanding and students' learning progress. Assessing students is important to determining whether they have understood a topic and evaluating whether your teaching was effective.

Why You Need a Lesson Plan

Whether teaching in person or an online class, writing an engaging lesson plan is important for teaching. Thus, understanding lesson-planning hacks is essential for the following reasons:

Types of Engaging Lesson Plans

Now that you have all the lesson planning hacks, knowing the available lesson plans is important. Remember, you can create as many lesson plans as possible depending on what grade level you are teaching, how many lessons you have to teach, and how many times you teach in a day. Here are engaging lesson plans you might use in your classroom:

Final Word on Lesson Planning Hacks

A good lesson plan is essential for effective teaching and student comprehension of course content. A good lesson plan includes first defining objectives that will help you stay organized and ensure the teachings are aligned with the curriculum. It also includes instructional materials, timelines, and other effective ways to engage and keep students interested.

Following all these lesson-planning hacks can enhance your teaching practice and create meaningful learning opportunities for everyone. If you are training to become a teacher and find it challenging to develop efficient lesson plans, we can help.

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