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9 Steps to Engaging Lesson Plans

Updated on August 15, 2017
JoannaBlackburn profile image

Joanna Blackburn has 15 years of hands-on teaching and researching ways to help children learn. She writes articles to help other teachers

To keep children engaged you as a teacher must be engaged in every activity. The activities in the article and the way you go about it will make your lessons plans rock.

Sample of Lesson Plan


The Jo Jo Method is what all of my co-workers and bosses called what I did in my classroom.

"This method only work if you the teacher are willing to put the effort into it. Be prepared to take some time getting use to this method."

— Joanna Blackburn

Step 1 Child Development Milestones

Take the time to review child development milestones for the age of the children in your classroom. Make sure to look at a couple of different ones. Include one for children with special needs.

This will help you while observing children. You will be better prepared to spot children who require additional assistance or the individuals who are advanced for their age. Reading them just before doing an observation your intuitive personality will send up a warning if there's an issue. That doesn't

"Keep your focus on how the child your interacting with goes about accomplishing the activity they have picked to do."

— Joanna Blackburn

Lesson Planning enhances play and gives the children freedom to choose what they want to do.

Step 2-The Use of Child Development Checklist

Now that you have read through these milestones, it's time to look at several different checklist. This is a great way to come up with new ideas for your classroom. Here is a list of the different types of check list. Take the time to look at one sample from each of the checklist.

Types of Checklist

Observation Checklist
Daily Checklist
Portfolio Checklist
Inclusive Checklist
Skills Checklist
Classroom Checklist
Intervention Checklist
By Age Checklist

You will need to go old school for this to be effective. So get a notebook and pen. No pencils allowed. Don't erase anything.

Step 2-Conclusion

Now that you have read through all these checklist, pick three and print them out. You will need to have them for future use. This is very important to making your lesson plans.

After rereading through the checklist you have printed. Think, what is missing from these list? Write it down in your notebook. What else do you believe should be added to these checklist.

Turn them over and close the notebook. We will come back to this. Move on to Step 3.

Step 3-Time to Practice Making Writing Observations

Now interact with a child while they are playing. Talk with them. Play what they are playing. Just be a kid. Spend about 15 minutes. (make sure you scan around the room and see what the other children are doing)

When time is up go over to your notebook, write the child's name, date,center and time. Then write down what you learned from playing with this child. Write down what happened when you started playing what there playing. Did the child's mood change?

Close the notebook and go play with

Step 4- Starting your Lesson Plan

Now take out all your notes, checklist and notebook. Read through all of it. The best time to do this is during nap time.

Take out a blank lesson plan, write down any activities that come to mind. (Do Not Fill In The Whole Lesson Plan)

When done, put all your papers in the notebook and close it. Then the next day repeat step 3 & 4. Do this for three days in a row.

Step 5-Break Time Activity

If you made it this far, take a break. Just watch what the children are doing. During nap time or your lunch break, write out some questions to ask the parents. The table below are some questions to use to get parents talking about their child.

Either when the parents drop off their child or picks them up, ask them one of those questions. While they are talking, really listen to what she is talking about. Make comments about different things their child does in your classroom.

After the parent

Sample Questions for Parents

What toy does your child play with the most at home?
What is your child's favorite food to eat for dinner?
Does your child pick out their own clothes to wear to daycare?
Okay, You get the idea.

Step 6-Play Time Journal Notes

When you have completed everything above, you should still have room on your lesson plans. Take a day to just observe and write about what is going on in your room. Do you see any difference?

If you decide to try a new activity, make sure to write down what it was and how it turned out.

About the Importance of the Process

When a teacher appreciates the interaction they share with children during play, the children begin to build a strong bond of trust with that teacher. Teachers must value and nurture these interactions for this is when children will show their creativity and raw emotions.

This reality alone is the reason it's so critical to become acquainted with the kids in your classroom. You can fulfill this by making your lesson plans in light of what youngsters love to do and endeavor to achieve.

An Impressive measure of what is found on the web is a general plan and observation systems. This article is about interaction and observing individual children for whom they are.

Confused, don't stress this article clarifies in step by step how to use checklist and observations to make awesome lesson plans. When completed you will have the capacity to make lesson plans that work wonders and will set up your classroom to advance learning in a play domain.

As you read through this technique for observing youngsters, you will start to consider ways you can use this in your classroom setting. You will start to comprehend that it's not about an agenda, or evaluation forms or even the activities you utilize. It's about helping every youngster to have the ability to accomplish everything they can in their own specific manner.

Break Time

Look at the picture below. Write down everything you think could be going on in the photo.

What am I doing?


Step 7- Early Learning Guidelines

Now go back to your notebook and write down one of your early learning guidelines you would like to accomplish. Read back through all of your notes, checklist and observations. Now with out thinking writing down any activity that comes to mind.

Write them down on your lesson plan. Repeat this for each one of your early learning objectives.

Here is my favorite one---Creative Arts----children use creative arts to express and represent what they know, think, believe and feel.

Sample of Oklahoma Early Learning Guidelines

Oklahoma Learning Standards
Approaches to Learning
Creative Expression
Language Arts
Social Studies
Physical Development
Social/Emotional Development
All States in the United States seem to have different standards.

Creative Arts is any kind of pretend play.

Step 8-Is your lesson plan full?

By this step you should have a full lesson plan and a list of extra activities. Take that list of extra's, write them down on a paper and hang it up for you to see. When things aren't going your way or your class just won't cooperate or your activity move faster than you thought, use the activities on this list.

Step 9- Final Step

Use the following forms and save them to review at a future date. These will help with your future lesson plans. I use all four every week, it helped me to see what worked and what didn't.

Sample of This Week's Play Ideas

Paper Folding Art
Tea Party
Story Bags
Supplies needed: square paper
Supplies needed: dishes and play food
Supplies needed: Book bags, backpacks, books, props, dress up clothes,small toys or blankets.

End Of The Week Observation

This is where you keep track of what worked and what didn't. You put as much or as little detail as you want. This is just to help with future lesson plans.

What worked?

What didn't work? What went wrong?

What kept the children entertained the longest?

What did the children enjoy the most?


My Children Are Interested In

The sample above shows what you can use this for. I love this one. I did it at least once a week.

Are you willing to try this method?

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    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 2 months ago from New England

      Great comprehensive lesson planning guide and tips! Thank you!