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Writing Lesson Plans

The OTAN Online Lesson Plan Builder is designed as a tool for adult educators to improve instruction. It is intended for the use of both new teachers who are studying their craft and of experienced teachers developing detailed lesson plans to share with their peers.

Research has shown that effective teachers follow a methodology for planning and presenting a lesson.

The WIPPEA* model with an emphasis on backward design is a guide for teachers in planning effective lessons. This model for lesson planning helps ESL, ABE, ASE, and other teachers create a smooth instructional flow and scaffold learning in small chunks.

The lesson planning model represents a continuous teaching cycle in which each learning concept builds on the previous one, thereby serving as an instructional roadmap for teachers. Using principles of backward design (G. Wiggins and J. McTighe, 1992) in which teacher plan lessons beginning with the end in mind, teachers target instruction both to the lesson objective and the evaluation of mastery of the objective. The teacher asks-and answers-the following questions at the beginning of lesson preparation: How will I expect students to demonstrate understanding or mastery of this objective? What type of evaluation activity will best assess students' ability to learn and apply their new knowledge? With the evaluation activity decided and clearly stated at the beginning of the lesson, the teacher and students have a clear understanding of where instruction is headed. The teacher then designs the lesson activities, following the WIPPEA stages and always keeping the end in mind as the lesson progresses trough each stage.

The WIPPEA model and the backward design process together provide a structure for developing student-centered lessons. This model uses a sequence of activities to teach one objective at a time. The teacher will not always be able to complete each lesson plan in one class period; sometimes two or three class periods are necessary before students demonstrate mastery of an objective. When the teacher has internalized the steps in the WIPPEA planning process as well as the use of backward design, lesson planning becomes a quick, easy process.

*The acronym WIPPEA represents the first letter of each stage in the lesson planning model: Warm-up, Introduction, Presentation, Practice, Evaluation, Application.

The model is based on the work from Madeline Hunter from her text, Mastery Teaching (1982), and adapted by the ESL Teacher Institute, Lesson Planning Module, then published by Longman, Teacher Training Through Video, 1992.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN180031 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.