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Lesson planning step by step

Lesson, easy way to study, idea diary, individual lessons, good teaching, teacher, best teacher,
Lesson planning step by step

From the master plan to the lesson

How do I plan a lesson correctly? How do I get from the master plan to the individual lesson? And what can I do if I can’t think of anything at all? We explain the necessary steps – and provide you with reliable tips that are guaranteed to provide the right idea!

What is good teaching?

Lesson planning is about two things: your lessons should be as good as possible – and as low-stress and disruptive as possible. On the one hand, lesson planning and preparation are aimed at the teaching process, on the other hand at its result. The following characteristics make it a little more tangible which criteria for “good” teaching there are at all:

  • Clear structure
  • Lots of real study time
  • Good learning climate
  • Content clarity
  • Meaningful communication or mediation between the curriculum and student interests
  • Methodological variety
  • Individual support
  • Smart practice
  • Transparency about expectations

Maybe you personally have other priorities and have your own definition of good teaching – but there will certainly be a large overlap.


From the master plan to the lesson

You have many specifications – framework plan specifications, but also internal school regulations or agreements. In order to get from these framework conditions to the specific lesson, start with the general information on increasing competence and content that you will find in the framework plan for your subject. What are the guidelines for the lesson you are planning? Which internal school regulations do you still have to take into account? If there are no specifications for your topic, you have to decide for yourself – of course you can also get advice from senior colleagues.

Next, find out what relevant information you can derive for your teaching unit from the school’s internal curricula or the material distribution plans. So that you can later work with your students in a structured manner, you need a goal that should be achieved after six to eight teaching units. So define a learning objective for your series of lessons that you consistently take into account during the preparation.

Next, gather the appropriate materials. Always ask yourself whether the materials really help you achieve your goals or are perhaps less useful. The most exciting film is unsuitable if it does not contribute to the achievement of the learning objective. So don’t focus primarily on which worksheet is “beautiful” or thematically exciting, but always be aware of the interaction of material, goal and class situation.


Once you have gathered your material, organize it into entry phase, practice phase and application or backup phase. Unless you start with a problem-oriented introduction, the following applies: light materials go well with the topic introduction, demanding tasks belong in the working phase.


Next, take care of the rough planning of the individual lessons. Keep in mind: Not only every single lesson should have a tension development – the teaching unit as a whole also needs introduction (hours), practice (hours) and application (hours) at the end. Formulate sub-goals for the individual lessons and classify the lessons, for example in an introductory lesson, an application lesson, a control lesson or a final lesson. Determine which materials and media are to be used in which lesson.

With the use of media and materials and the sub-goals in mind, you can then get down to the concrete design of the lessons. What should the individual teaching phases look like? Which medium, which materials and which aids should be used in which phase of the lesson? Plan the specific requirements for each lesson in detail.


First Aid: Tips if you can’t think of anything

If you don’t have any idea for the next lesson, short creative exercises will help. For example, try to find analogies from other departments if you really can’t think of anything else on a topic. Get visually stimulated by looking around the room or perhaps looking out the window. Or try a completely different approach and develop the perfect advertising slogan for your topic. To do this, formulate the three central characteristics or goals of the topic and look for meaningful connections – you will be surprised what you can think of!

Incidentally, you can prevent the lack of ideas in the longer term by keeping an idea diary. If you can’t think of anything, you’ll have a fund straight away. And no matter how crazy or outlandish an idea may sound today – write it down anyway. Maybe later it will inspire you to come up with exactly the right idea. If all else fails, you can also involve your colleagues. Think of a funny prize and then put a note in the staff room: “Idea for the next lesson on the topic … wanted. The best idea will be awarded!” There are bound to be lots of great suggestions!