Tweeking Your Lesson Plan as You Teach
More often than not, teachers find themselves realizing that their lesson is not going as planned during their teaching. This can be noted by the expression on students’ faces, other informal assessments such as questioning, or the performance on a student’s activity within your lesson. It is important to note these signs and make adjustments as necessary during your teaching. These adjustments may just be related to grouping students differently, re-teaching, providing more concrete examples, creating visuals, or teaching something else prior to the content initially planned.
For instance, if you are teaching a whole group of students and find that some students look like they are ready to move on to the application part of your lesson but others do not, you may need to allow some of them to partner with a student who needs more assistance and redo the initial activity before moving on. This added support and additional practice may be all some of your students need. Not only will your students who understood gain added practice, but they may also become “experts” in that area as they work with someone else and help them. The other students will definitely benefit from extra practice and the additional explanation. You can also model the activity they did not understand or provide additional examples, depending on the activity.
Another example of your lesson not going well may be that the grouping of your students is not benefiting them. If you have all your lower level students working together in a challenging task, they may not be successful. Therefore, they will benefit from being partnered with a higher level student rather than another lower level student. If you forgot to pair them accordingly, you may just need to make this quick adjustment. As you can see, not all adjustments or modifications will change your lesson plan. If you make these adjustments early on, your lesson may not be affected at all.
The idea is that as teachers we need to note when things are not going well in lessons and make the adjustment quickly. It will benefit your students more than waiting until the next lesson to make adjustments and relieve you from added stress of seeing your students fail during the lesson. If you find yourself in a situation where you see that your students are not comprehending what you are teaching, it is important to switch gears and tweek your lesson plan on the spot. Don’t be afraid to do this. Good teaching involves diverging from your original plan all the time.
A lesson plan should be seen as a template for learning that can be modified during the execution of it. Many teachers may think that they need to stick to their lesson plan because it has all the elements necessary to meet the objectives, but if your students are not understanding the first part of the lesson, it does not make sense to move on to the next part as they may be even more confused. So, follow your intuition when your students are giving you signs that they don’t get what you are teaching and modify or add to your original lesson. At times, making a simple adjustment in your lesson during your teaching can make all the difference, and then you can continue with the rest of your lesson.
About Ann Navarro
Ann has teaching experience working with elementary students in the areas of bilingual education, dual language, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ann holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist Concentration. She also has experience evaluating lesson plans for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, Ann enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and reading.