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How to Create Your Own Lesson Plans

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There is not just one source to locate information on, or examples of, lesson plans and the Teacher Curriculum Center (TCC) provides a variety of possibilities.

The best first step is to look at a curriculum guide.  A curriculum guide is an organized set of individual lessons that provides a detailed, long-term approach to teaching a content area, such as third-grade mathematics or twelfth-grade social studies.  A good curriculum guide should indicate what the goals and objectives of the lessons will be (what kind of learning will occur); what proficiencies students should have before proceeding with the lessons (are the students ready for the new information); what will come after the lessons); what other skills/competences (such as critical thinking, problem solving, etc.) should be incorporated into the lessons, and how these  skills are involved in each kind of learning.  Since a lesson is a part of a curriculum, the guide can give an idea of how learning can be sequenced and organized, thus creating a basic outline into which a lesson plan fits.

Curriculum guides are treated just like other TCC materials and are listed in the Library catalog under  subject (such as Reading-Study and teaching-TCC and/or under author (such as the school district such as Los Angeles Unified School District) and under title.  The TCC has guides from school districts and from the California State Department of Education.  Curriculum guides are usually updated regularly as based on changes initiated by guidelines such as the state content standards and the frameworks issued by the State Department of Education, or as a result of a curriculum review by a school district. 

Some curriculum guides contain specific lessons plans that show all the skills involved in learning a particular content area.  For instance, a social studies lesson might incorporate critical thinking and math skills.  Generally, the curriculum guide should only act as an outline or model for the development of the structure of your own lesson and not as a required approach to a lesson.  Consider the guide as an idea starter to be integrated with your own knowledge of what your students need and can do and what available resources and time will permit.

Another place to locate lesson plans is in the teacher materials that may accompany textbooks and other items in the TCC collection, such as the teacher’s edition, guide or manual.  These teacher materials will be identified through the library catalog under the author, title, and/or subject.  The teacher materials will provide information about the lessons, including assessment, preparation, and guidance about how to effectively present your lessons. Scope and sequence charts provide information that will help you to correlate your instructional resources into your lessons.  This information will assist you in learning the pattern and sequence for a lesson and the possible integration of accompanying materials.

Curriculum guides, units of study, and lesson plans can also be found in great numbers in the ERIC
collection of educational materials.  The online index to the ERIC collection can be accessed using the “Databases A-Z” link from the Library home page at  Many current  ERIC curriculum guide/lesson plans materials are available full-text online.  Most of the older publications are available in microfiche format and are located in the Microform Collection on the 4th floor East Wing of the Oviatt Library.  The best strategy to use to identify curriculum guides/lesson plans in ERIC is to combine your subject with the phrase “lesson planning” or “curriculum planning”.

Created by Dr. Karin Duran
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