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Like the backward design process used to plan a course, planning a lesson involves first identifying what outcomes students should achieve, the assessment used to determine if students have met those outcomes, and the methods or activities involved. The additional principle at work for lesson planning is time management, as any given class day will always be under the constraint of time. Thinking critically about what activities will take place in a given class period, therefore, is extremely important.

Transparency is key in regards to lesson planning. Helping students see how their time is being scheduled and what purposes lie behind that scheduling can encourage their engagement and learning. Additionally, it is important to remember that a common challenge in lesson planning is trying to do too much. Planning to cover less content can result in deeper learning and higher levels of motivation.

The video below presents an easy tool for integrating active learning into your lesson plans:

More ideas about techniques you can use in designing lesson plans can be found on our Teaching Methods Overview, Active Learning, Classroom Response Systems, and Assignment Design and Assessment pages.

Read more about lesson planning from the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence.