A teacher using a lesson plan to teach students

How to Write a Lesson Plan for Trainee Teachers

This blog provides an overview of how to write a good lesson plan and a sample plan for trainee teachers.

One of the many challenges in classroom teaching is writing an effective lesson plan. However, adequate planning for the right lesson is key to a successful teaching experience. If you know how to write a lesson plan, teaching becomes simple, giving you the freedom to interact with your learners.

Many trainee teachers fail to deliver their lessons effectively, leaving their students half-baked and unsatisfied because they don’t know how to properly organize and write their lessons. Although lessons are readily available, all that is needed to be done to teach them. But, not all lessons are effective in all classes; you need to tweak the lesson and make it your own to adapt to the needs of the students. Each student level requires a different lesson plan. There is no one lesson plan that fits all the student’s levels and needs.

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What is a Lesson Plan?

A lesson plan is a teacher’s daily guide for what students need to learn, how it will be taught, and how learning will be measured. Lesson plans help teachers be more effective in the classroom by providing a detailed outline to follow each class period. This ensures every bit of class time is spent teaching new concepts and having meaningful discussions.

An effective lesson plan demonstrates how a teacher creates objectives for his or her students and measures how those objectives are mastered. Creating a lesson plan begins with aligning state standards to your curriculum and then narrowing the focus to determine which objectives you want your students to meet within a specific unit of study.

Good lesson plans are the foundation of an efficient classroom environment for the teacher and the students. Lesson plans contain several components that can fit into three categories:

  1. What am I teaching?
  2. How am I going to teach it?
  3. How will I assess what the students have learned?
A trainee teacher using a lesson plan to teach students
A teacher demonstrating a lesson to students

How to Write an Effective Lesson Plan

Most lesson plans follow a universal structure for teachers to implement essential learning across curriculum and grade levels:

  • Set Goals

Trainee teachers must determine which state standards will be addressed within a specific unit. Using state and Common Core standards, teachers can create objectives for each lesson based on their unique curriculum and knowledge of their students’ capabilities. Objectives should use action verbs appropriate for the student’s cognitive levels.

  • Create an Overview

An overarching idea of what you want to teach in a unit plan allows teachers to determine what essential questions will be addressed, which resources will be used throughout the unit, and which vocabulary words or skills need to be front-loaded before beginning individual lesson plans within the unit.

  • Manage Timelines

Duration is a crucial feature of lesson planning. Since no two classrooms are identical in terms of how students learn and retain information, it is crucial for teachers to get to know their students and create appropriate timelines. Formative and summative assessments can be implemented to allow a teacher to determine if a lesson objective needs to be retaught or revisited within a unit.

  • Know Your Students

The way you structure each lesson relates to how well you know your students and what type of learners they are. Are there students with Individualized Education Plans or 504 Plans who require modifications to the curriculum or extended time? Do you have gifted students in the class? Are there students who seem to grasp learning objectives during classroom checks for understanding but fail their assessments?

  • Execution

Once your goals are set, it’s time to address how you will teach your students and assess their levels of mastery. Students can be audio learners, visual learners, kinesthetic learners, or a combination of all three. With this in mind, it’s essential to differentiate instruction in a lesson through activities that engage learners and pique their interests.

In addition to summative assessments, teachers should implement formative assessments throughout each lesson to determine students’ proficiency levels toward reaching the objective.

What are the Key Components of a Lesson Plan?

All lesson plans share several basic tenets that apply universally, regardless of grade level or content area. Every lesson should contain a clear beginning, middle, and end.

a) In the beginning, the goals and standards are introduced.

b) In the middle, the students use modeling, guided practice, and active engagement strategies to meet the objective.

c) The student’s mastery of the objective is assessed at the end of the lesson.

A basic format for a student teacher lesson plan structure includes:

1. The title of the unit, the content area, and the grade level for whom the lesson is written.

2. State Standards and Common Core Standards were addressed in the lesson.

3. An overview of how the individual lesson falls under the umbrella of the essential questions in the unit.

4. Teacher-specific objectives narrow the standards’ focus specific to your content area and curriculum.

5. Materials and resources used in the lesson, including any integrated technology.

6. Vocabulary words are specific to the lesson and learning objective.

7. Lesson procedure: an in-depth explanation of how the lesson will progress in the classroom and contains four phases: explore, learn and practice, reflect, and reinforce.

8.Formative assessments are used to track students’ progress toward meeting the objective.

9.Lesson reflection encourages the teacher to take notes on improving the lesson after completing it.

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Lesson Plan Sample

Teacher’s Name: Date: Day 1 of 5
Lesson Title: Underhand serve


Unit Title: Volleyball Grade: 6th Grade
Central Focus/Content Area: Teaching sixth graders the basics of volleyball while incorporating cognitive, motor, and social skills.

Overview of the Lesson:

The primary focus of the lesson is to teach an underhand serve in volleyball.

Academic Language Objectives/Cognitive Concepts: Underhand serve, dominant hand, toss, and follow-through.
Materials& Resources: 6-8 volleyballs, volleyball net, whistle, internet, sample activity from the internet, and posters.

Safety Considerations:

Students will warm up for ten minutes to minimize the risk of injury.

The gymnastic floor should be clean and dry to avoid slippery floors.

The gymnasts should be well-ventilated.

Check for a well-stocked first aid kit.

Check for appropriate and comfortable wear, such as shoes and clothes.

Ask students to remove any jewelry.

Sources of the Lesson: The lesson is informed by the partnership between the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the USA Volleyball Grassroots and Education.

National Standards and State Objectives


National PE Standard(s): S1.M12.6 requires grade six students to do a legal underhand serve with control for net and wall games.


State PE Objective(s): PE.7.MS.1.1 requires students to perform a combination of movements relating to a particular sport, such as a team sport.


National Health Standard(s): Standard 7 of SHAPE requires students to engage in health-promoting conduct to avoid and reduce health risks.

Student Learning Outcomes


(thinking skills)

Students will show comprehension of the rules of volleyball and its concepts.

Learners will show an understanding of the basic terms of volleyball and serving.


(social skills)

Students will show an understanding of the meaning of sportsmanship.

Learners will demonstrate fairness and respect for the game and classmates.

Students will communicate, encourage each other, and collaborate.


(physical skills)

Learners will demonstrate the ability to do a backswing.

Students will show hand and ball coordination skills.

Learners will learn to perform an underhand serve.

Assessment of Task (Learning Outcomes)

Cognitive: A graded assessment based on a rubric is used to grade learners on rules and terms learned.

Formative assessment using discussions, feedback, and question and answer sessions.



Learners will be placed into groups of two and asked to assess one another and their interactions.

Students will write down the skill they used while playing volleyball.



A graded rubric and practical application will be used to evaluate learners on their skills.

Modifications, Differentiation, Cognitive Concepts,& Learning Cues


Modifications: For beginners, I will use sample activity from the internet to demonstrate an underhand serve.

For overachievers, I will ask them to demonstrate serving and assist beginners to learn an underhand serve.

For learners with special needs, I will adapt my teaching style, incorporate visuals, modify the game setting, and guide them to do a serve.


Differentiation: I will use posters to demonstrate serving to learners with auditory impairments.

The language I use will be simple and clear to engage all learners.


Learning Cues: Swing, no tossing, follow-through, and making contact on hand.


Lesson Outline

A sequence of Activities:


Description: What is the Teacher Doing

Description: What are the Students Doing

 Picture, Symbol, or Diagram

9:00-9:15 I will begin by asking students if they have played volleyball before. I engage learners in a discussion involving the game’s rules, the focus of our lesson, underhand serve, and the terms they are likely to encounter.





Students will listen.

Students will engage in a discussion guided by the teacher.

9:15-9:20 Model an underhand serve.

Start by standing behind the red line.

Place the ball in my non-dominant hand with my non-dominant foot positioned forward.

Next, I will form a fist with my dominant hand.

Toss the ball a few inches upwards and in front. I will simultaneously swing my dominant hand backward to make contact with the ball as it comes down.

Keep my eyes on the ball as I follow through to ensure it lands in my desired location.

Students will listen and observe my movements and positioning as I prepare to serve and when I make a serve.
9:20-9:22 Ask learners to pick a ball and form their pre-assigned teams of two. Students will pick a ball and identify their team members.  
9:22-9:35 Instruct learners to practice an underhand serve against the wall.

Observe and encourage learners

Give feedback

Offer assistance as necessary.

Students will imitate the technique while turn-taking.

Learners will encourage one another to perfect an underhand serve.


9:35-9:40 Ask learners to take a water break.




Water break.  
9:40:9:55 Instruct learners to try an underhand serve with a net.

Repeat a proper underhand serve.

Students will observe the teacher and try to do an underhand serve over the net.
9:55-10:00 Conclude the lesson by high-fiving learners.

Ask for feedback from learners.

Students will greet one another.

Students will share their views about the lesson and if they can do an underhand serve.



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