Lesson Planning using S.M.A.R.T. Objectives and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Part 1

December 1, 2010
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Recently one of our teacher-readers honored me by asking my opinion on writing lesson plans.  What do I think should be included in an effective lesson plan?

Well for what it is worth, here is my advice for creating effective lesson plans.

The first thing I always start with is the objective, which I always try to make as an action statement.  What do I want my students to be able to do after the lesson is over.

Two useful tools for creating an effective objective are application of the S.M.A.R.T. model and Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Then after the objective is set, I start to look at how to achieve the objective, and then how to upgrade that objective to include one or more of Dan Pink’s AWNM aptitudes.

For this first post, let’s just look at setting student objectives.

Step 1: Setting Your Objective

I really think this is the hardest part of lesson planning.  But putting in the effort on this part will make the rest go smoothly.

I always start with a question:  “What do I want my students to be able to do after the lesson?”

Should they be able to identify five Middle East countries from a map?  Maybe they should be able to orally defend a Supreme Court decision.

Whatever you choose,  make sure it is an action.  A task they must be able to perform that they could not perform before your lesson.

A handy guide that I use is the S.M.A.R.T. approach.  The acronym stands for the following:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time-Based

So let’s take our Middle Eastern map activity.  Is it a SMART objective?  Let’s see…

Specific: I want them to label countries in the Middle East on a map. It is a clearly defined region for which I will use a regional map.

Measurable: They either get the country correct or they do not. And they are to do five countries.  I always like to have a number.

Achievable: This is definitely within the range of my high school students. This is your call.  As a teacher we know what our students can do.

Relevant: If you are studying current events, you’ve got to know about the Middle East and where these events are occurring. Another way to look at it: Is it in my curriculum?  Am I aligned with a department, district, or state standard?

Time-based: This depends on your lesson plan length.  I think most teachers have objectives for the day, the chapter, the unit, etc.  You just need to determine which objective you are writing and the length of time you will be spending to achieve your objective.

The next step that I take involves activities and Bloom’s Taxonomy, which I will save for another post.

Please let me know your thoughts.  How do you set objectives for your students?  What criteria do you follow?

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