Classroom Tips

How to write a lesson plan: Tips, format, sample, & example

If you are in the process of turning your passion into a children’s activity or education business, you are probably an expert in your field. Whether you are a dancer preparing to teach dance to children or a developer getting ready to teach coding, you know the ins and outs of the subject. However, knowing how to do something doesn’t instantly make you a great teacher. Organized lesson plans make you a great teacher.

Our mission at Sawyer is to help children’s activity and education businesses share their love of learning with the next generation. To help set you up for success, we wanted to outline how to write a lesson plan and provide you with some lesson plan formats, outlines, and examples. And if you want to learn how to write a curriculum, check out our guide!

How to write a lesson plan

Why is a lesson plan important?

Lesson plans keep instructors organized and on track while they teach. Without a lesson plan, instructors run the risk of rambling, forgetting important information, speaking with inaccuracies, and teaching inefficiently. 

So, why is a lesson plan important? With lesson plans, instructors are able to:

  • Structure their classes. Structure is beneficial for both the student and the teacher. Lesson plans help keep the classes consistent across days and weeks.
  • Teach confidently. Planning ahead means that instructors are confident in what they are teaching for each class. Lesson plans allow you to focus on giving the best instruction to their students.
  • Manage time effectively. In their lesson plan, instructors can break down the topic for the class into manageable chunks and time those out so they know they will have enough, and not too much, information for the class time allotted.
  • Focus on what matters. A well-documented lesson plan keeps instructors on track and centered on the important information.
  • Document progress. Lesson plans help both instructors and their managers get a sense of class and teacher progress. They provide a picture of what has been taught and how, which is helpful for retrospectives and plans for improvement.
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What does a lesson plan look like?

No matter what you teach, the lesson plan format should be roughly the same. This tried-and-true approach has proven successful by teachers for decades. Keep reading to understand what a lesson plan should look like and the parts of a lesson plan you should always include.

Lesson plan format

1. Lesson objective(s)

What is the goal of this lesson? What are children going to learn or be able to do at the end of the class? Make your lesson objective(s) as action-oriented and measurable as possible because this is how you will measure progress before moving on to new lessons.

Lesson objective examples

  • Learn first 30 seconds of choreography for hip-hop dance
  • Explore mixed media art and create a project to take home
  • Master a 6 sentence back-and-forth Spanish dialogue

2. Materials needed

What materials or supplies are needed to teach this lesson? How will students successfully achieve the objectives you determined in the first section? In this section of your lesson plan, you will list everything you need for the class. Not sure where to buy supplies? Check out our guide. 

3. Lesson activities

This section is where you will actually plan your lesson. What will you be doing to help your students accomplish their objective? It is best to walk through your plan for the class step-by-step so that you stay organized and help keep yourself on track.

In order to do this, you should break your lesson down into individual activities. When thinking about these activities, ask yourself some questions to determine the right ones to achieve your goals.

  • Is this an engaging way to teach this subject?
  • Are students ready for this type of activity?
  • Does this activity align with learning objectives?
  • How much time will this activity take?
  • Will this activity inspire and/or increase class participation?

Remember: you should be planning a variety of activities for each lesson. Children learn more easily when they are engaged in interactive experiences like playing games, which can enhance classroom learning. You can also consider adding in some Montessori techniques so children can have more agency in the activities.

Here are some examples of lesson activities:

  • With a partner, come up with a 10 second dance that incorporates 3 different movement styles to warm up your bodies and your minds.
  • Take 5 minutes to write about your favorite art medium and then discuss in groups.
  • Read this short story in Spanish that uses the vocabulary words we will master in the class for our dialogues. Write down any words you don’t know.

4. Timing

As you plan the activities, include a time estimate with each description. It is best to add a little extra time to each activity in case of questions or great discussion. Adding time estimates is a great way to make sure you have scheduled enough activities for the class so you don’t have any empty time and you can avoid rushing at the end. You can err on the side of caution by adding a bonus activity to the end of your lesson plan, which can be done if time allows but is not necessary for achieving the learning objectives.

5. Related requirements

This is mostly necessary for teachers who work in schools, but depending on the size of your business, you might want to ask your instructors to include this information as well. Related requirements refers to how your lesson connects to the overarching objectives of the organization, whether they are required (like grade-level standards in schools) or just for your own company’s goals. 

6. Assessment

It is helpful for instructors to include a measure of assessment in their lesson plans. To be done at the end of a lesson, this helps the instructor learn if the lesson actually helped students meet the objectives. Since you are teaching children’s activities and not school classes, you might not want to do a test or quiz, but instead you can try group projects and presentations or personal reviews of student work.

7. Evaluation

Leave room at the end of your lesson plan for you to reflect on the class. What went well and what could have been improved? Did students struggle with any of the activities, specifically? Can you understand why? Take some notes during and after the class to keep this information in mind when planning your next lesson.

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Lesson plan example

Now that you have seen a lesson plan outline, you should have a good sense of what to include in your own lesson plan. Check out our lesson plan example so you can see it in action.

Lesson plan sample

Learning objective: 

In this lesson, students will learn 20 new vocabulary words and master a 6 sentence back-and-forth dialogue in Spanish.

Materials needed:

  • 30 Spanish-language flash cards with images
  • Current Spanish vocabulary list
  • Costumes for dialogue
  • Pen & paper

Lesson activities:

Activity #1 (10 minutes)

  • This activity will take place in the first 10 minutes of class.
  • Students will pair up and chat with one another about their day using Spanish words that they already know. They will have their current vocabulary list to help them if they need it.
  • The goal of this activity is to let children socialize at the beginning of class while practicing their Spanish.

Activity #2 (20 minutes)

  • This is the main activity of the class.
  • At the start, the instructor will go over the new vocabulary words that are on the flash cards they will receive. The class will practice saying the words out loud to get pronunciation right.
  • Then, students will pair up and write a 6 sentence (each) dialogue that utilizes the new words and tells a story.
  • Students should practice their dialogue together at least 3 times. Then, they are welcome to put on costumes to enhance their story.

Activity #3 (10 minutes)

  • At this time, students will present their dialogues to the class.
  • After each dialogue, the other students will write down the story presented by the students. 
  • At the end of the presentations, students should have a list of stories from each presentation.

Activity #4 (10 minutes)

  • On their own, students will write one sentence to describe what happens next in each student’s story (including their own). This will help them increase their listening comprehension, work on their writing skills, and use their imagination while thinking in Spanish. 
  • If there is time, students can share what they wrote.

 Related requirements:

  • Listening comprehension with the goal of every student being able to understand 100 Spanish words at the end of a semester.
  • Creativity with the goal of every student feeling inspired and able to create in Spanish


Students will be assessed by the instructor on their dialogues. Their assessments will not be made known to the students (no grades), but it will be beneficial for the instructor to keep in mind as they plan the next lesson.


To be filled out during the class and afterwards.

Photo of lesson plan example

We hope the above information has gotten you ready and excited to create lesson plans and teach informative and engaging classes to children of all ages. If you are looking for guidance on starting, managing, and growing your children’s activity or education business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. Schedule a free demo or check out our resources to learn more.

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