Lesson Planning Tips to Avoid "Flat" Lessons and Prevent Discipline Problems

This guest post was written by Dorit Sasson from the NewTeacherResourceCenter.com

If you've been experiencing discipline problems with your class, you may want to revisit the way you've been planning your lessons. For any lesson to be successful, it must "develop." That means, there must be enough interesting parts and transitions to help "glue" each part of the lesson together so learners will be engaged at each point along the way.

What is a Flat Lesson?

From my experience, there are two kinds of flat lessons. One situation has too many activities which results in a lack of a main focus. In this situation, the lesson "frame" contains activities that are not connected to a pre-middle and post learning format. The second type of "flat" lesson is an "up and down" situation where there are too many learning "expectations" and this confuses students and in some situations, can frustrate them. As a result, they may misbehave causing havoc to other learners and disrupting a well-planned lesson. How to Solve this Problem

First, start by asking yourself the million dollar question:

What do I want to achieve? What is my topic?

Second, consider the content. Every topic must have content. Content can come from books, texts, stories, readers, websites, songs, personal experiences, recipes – you name it!

The question is: How should you present the topic? What are the skills? Which of the four skills are you going to focus on? For example, will you reinforce an oral lesson with a reading and/or writing activity?

Finally, in order for students to be ready for that main focus, you will need to plan and structure your pre-middle and –post activities

Plan your Lessons by Thinking in Threes!

Plan the activities which are the main focus of each part: What activities are best suited for the "pre" or beginning part of your lesson? What activities are best suited for the "middle" part of your lesson? What activities are best suited for the "post" part of your lesson?

Always be realistic about your time and how long you will need for each of these parts and be realistic of your students' time. Students need time to process and learn and too many activities can upset a well-thought out activities.

Teachers can overcome these problems by first, deciding on a focus and then deciding on what specific skills students need to know. A good lesson has just a few activities for each pre-while-post part of a lesson.

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Dorit Sasson is a freelance writer, speaker, educator and founder of the New Teacher Resource Center.