There have been quite a few posts lately about lesson planning and sharing or not sharing lessons... I thought I'd perhaps move the discussion to its own thread.
First off, yes I have uploaded a lot of lesson plans, have given multiple presentation about how to plan lessons, almost
wrote a textbook (I backed out so that I could wander around the world instead) and have shared ideas with people who randomly msg me on msn and say "I have a class in 15 minutes that I didn't know about... what do I do now?"
I'm not an expert at this - I still have classes that tank completely. It's all a part of the learning process.
When I was teaching in Canada, creating a lesson plan (or complete module) was not something I could measure in hours, but in days or weeks. And that is the main reason why I share, and encourage others to share (and thank people like jellomando for sharing). The more trading that happens, the better it is for everybody, with the understanding that you can never take a lesson (even your own past lesson plan) and use it as is
... you MUST modify it and make it your own. If not, the chances for success are lessened (in my experience anyway...)
But I digress... Just to give you an idea of the thought processes that I go through when I plan a lesson - notice that it gets more hectic as it goes along.
1) Start with a topic and/or grammar notion. If you use a theme/topic (i.e. animals), you will have more leeway than if you use a grammar notion (i.e. past tense).
2) Narrow the theme down to things that interest you or that you have some prior knowledge about (different animals around the world).
3) Now, stop - and go backwards (wait... how many animals are there in the world? Do these kids even have a concept of where in the world animals come from? Maybe my starting point needs to be a mini-geography lesson?? Okay - let's go by continent and separate the animals into categories according to where they come from in the world)
4) Now, stop - and go forwards (what is my final product going to be - meaning what will the closure activity be for the students? What will the end result be? What do I expect them to learn?)
5) How will you introduce this theme to your students? You must activate their own prior knowledge and give them a context to work in (hmmm, how about if I start each presentation with a review of the continents that we've already seen and then choose one and have a powerpoint showing animals from that continent?)
6) What is the *activity* in your lesson going to be? How will the students practice what they have acquired? (For each continent's animals, there will be a different, small, fun activity -- I'm not creating zoologists here, but giving the kids a taste of the larger world and the diversity of its fauna -- not that they will realize it at the time. These are children, let's feed the curiosity...) Hmmm, examples of activities - slapping game (hitting the picture of the animal when I say the name - encourages word recognition through reading and listening), colouring pages, wordsearches, a modified Yut game, matching/memory game, learning a penguin dance....
7) What are my resources? (okay... I can modify jellomando's geography lesson and bring it down to an elementary level... google images and asking friends for pictures of themselves with strange animals around the world will work for making the powerpoints... Discovery Kids has tools to create wordsearches and criss-cross words... there are Yut games at the chun-won store that I can modify... abcteach.com has a whole slew of Amazon animal colouring pages... bogglesworldesl (aka lanternfish) might have something.... youtube has a lot of random animal videos....)
Now... I need to start making the activities. If I just take Africa as an example -- I have a powerpoint with pictures of animals, then we can play the slap game, then there's a wordsearch. In the next lesson, we will review the animals, then I can show them a 5-minute video of random African animal images that I found on youtube.... WAIT... what will they do during the video? Sleep? Noo... need a simple worksheet with a few animal names - lion, giraffe, elephant, springbok - and every time they see that animal, they have to colour a square next to the name... yes, okay... and let's call it a Safari)
.... and so on.
This is a real thematic module that I am doing with my Grade 3 and 4 students. I haven't planned the whole thing out yet (I've done the geography, Africa, South America and Antarctica lessons so far), and it is constantly a work in progress. Once it is finally done, it will represent HOURS of work, and yes, it will be posted on waygook....
And why is this lesson plan working in my classes? Because I am building on my kids' prior knowledge (they know a few of the animal names in English, and can identify most of them in Korean), using something of interest to them and TO ME, with visual support and a variety of activities.
Finally, my school doesn't know whether I've spent 3 hours planning a class or 3 minutes... but I do.