5 Steps for Structuring Your Lesson Plan

By: Amelia Leigner

Planning a lesson can seem like an overwhelming task to those who have never taught before. However, using a simple formula can make this process much easier. The trick is to break up the lesson into five different parts: warm-up, presentation, practice, production and conclusion. Let’s take a deeper look into what to include in each section.

1. Warm-up:
Every class should begin with a warm-up to get students ready to learn. In my classes, the warm-up usually consists of a song, as well as review of the previous lesson’s vocabulary. However, just one of these activities would work fine. This section could also include a short game or a preview of the material that will be covered that day. The purpose of the warm-up is simply to get students back into the classroom mentality.

2. Presentation:
This is the core of the lesson where the target language, or new vocabulary, is taught. When planning a lesson, make sure to note exactly what the target language is and how you will teach it. Include how you will introduce the new vocabulary and grammar, how to stimulate students’ interest in the language and how you might elicit the new language from your students. For your first few classes, it may be helpful to include details as specific as when you might model structures and dialogue with your co-teacher, and when you will require a repeated response from the students.

3. Practice:
The practice section of a lesson is usually the most fun, because it often consists of games designed for students to use the target language with each other. It could also include partner activities or handouts related to the lesson. I usually have at least two, if not more, games planned for this section, since activities may take longer or shorter than you expect. Be sure to sequence your activities from most to least structured, so students are slowly given more freedom.
See our Stepping Stones Games/Activities Collection on the BaiDu cloud.

4. Production:
This is where students really learn and generalize a new language skill. The purpose of this section is to see if students can produce the target language without the help of others. Flashcards can be used to see if students will recognize new words just from visual prompts. Another tactic is asking students to talk about themselves, their lives or specific situations, using the target language that was taught in the presentation and practiced in the previous activities. Students could be asked to write down a few sentences and then present it to the class. Alternatively, students could be given a list of talking points or questions to discuss with a partner or in a small group. Teacher talking time during this section should be kept to a minimum.

5. Conclusion:
Use this time to discuss or recap what you have studied and learned during the lesson. I also sometimes like to close my class with a “goodbye” song or short game.

Just like any new skill, planning lessons does take some practice. However, sticking to these five basic sections and including a lot of detail will help your classes run smoothly. Make sure to also take note of what materials you will need to bring to class and prepare them accordingly. If you find yourself struggling, connect with your co-teacher or look in the Stepping Stones teaching resources on the BaiDu cloud at some previous lesson plans to spark ideas. Get excited about your lessons and your students will too!