Teaching is fun, but struggling to come up with class ideas and activities can take a lot of the fun out of it; so, here are a few tips for writing activity/lesson plans. Coming up with activities to do in a class you are teaching is a pretty daunting task, especially if your school hasn’t given you any sort of set curriculum to work with. But it’s not that difficult to do once you start thinking about activities within a larger context.
Start by looking at your long-term goals. What do your students need to have learned by the end of the course?
For example, let’s say you are teaching a beginning level ESL course for adults, and you have ten weeks to teach the following:
Using the course organization method described, you would have to teach two topics per week in order to cover them all in your ten-week course. In this case, you can have a lot of overlap. Around-the-house vocabulary, for example, can be taught in tandem with prepositions of place (The sheets are on the bed, the lamp is on the table, the table is in the living room, etc.). Or you can teach U.S. currency along with shopping for food.
So, the next thing you have to do is pick a topic and break it down further into teachable chunks that we’ll call objectives.
In each class session, you should have at least one or two objectives. In a math class, your objectives might be for students to be able to solve simple equations or to work word problems using multiplication.
Let’s go back to our beginning ESL class, though, and talk about the unit on parts of the body. This is a beginning class, remember, so it’s not necessary to teach all of the internal organs, just the basics. Your unit objectives are going to be things like:
With these three objectives in mind, you can now come up with activities to achieve them. For every objective, you should have three kinds of activities or parts of your lesson plan:
To get ESL students to read and pronounce the names of body parts correctly in English:
By the time you’ve thought about how you want to present, practice and produce, you’ve already come up with your lesson activities, but just in case you’re still stuck, here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
The last thing you need to think about is the kinds of materials you’ll need for each activity. These can range from books and charts to paper and markers to song lyrics, CD players, game boards, dice and cards.
If you are more of a visual learner, consider the flow chart above which reinforces the steps for writing activity/lesson plans. Start with your objective, then choose your activities for presentation, practice and production, and finally, make a list of all the materials you will need for each activity to meet each objective.
This should streamline your planning process and maybe make it just as fun as the teaching itself.