Instructional Lesson Plans

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Happy September! We hope your semesters are off to a great start.

In the Fall of 2010, Ruth taught her first full semester class, “The World of Social Media.” That semester was a huge learning curve as she transitioned from the structure of one-shots to the scaffolded approach of longer term learning. One extra surprising lesson came during the week that she lost her voice. Previously, she’d been handwriting her notes and thoughts on what to do each class session, including discussion questions. That week, she typed up lesson plans and passed them out to the class, so they could do the bulk of leading discussions. Suddenly, her classes were more engaged and flowed more smoothly! Something about the simple act of sitting down at a computer and typing up a lesson plan resulted in huge classroom success.

In subsequent years, both Eric and Ruth have found huge value in creating intentional lesson plans. Of course, when you do a Google search for lesson plans you will find a plethora of lesson plan strategies. Where in the world should you start? We have found the structure of lesson planning developed by educator Madeline Hunter in her classic work Mastery Teaching to be particularly helpful. You can “borrow” this book through Open Library. Hunter’s structure follows a gradual release of responsibility style framework (scaffolding) and works great for any class, including library one-shots.

Think of this template like a puzzle, making sure that each piece is included to create the full teaching experience for your students. Oftentimes as librarians we focus on two or three pieces of the puzzle, like modeling, in our rushed sixty minute classes and quickly forget to include other elements in our instruction such as guided and independent practice. One of the best features of this template is that it forces the instructor to slim down the content to what can truly be taught (and not just said) within a class session and builds in assessment to see how we and our students are doing.

Image Credit: Lisset Holt’s Blog

As you’re teaching this fall, consider trying this yourself! We’ve created a blank lesson plan template using Hunter’s model for you to modify and use in your classroom.

Looking to develop your teaching even more? We’re always happy to meet with instruction librarians to offer advice and best practices, whether in a retreat setting or in focused evaluations.

Happy teaching!

Ruth and Eric

Posted in Instruction.