Lesson planning check list

Yes No N.A. Indicator

1. Structuring: Establishes an intellectual psychological, and physical environment that enables students to act and react productively.


Lesson has a clear flow from one to another (e.g. begin, middle, and end; activity to activity).


Students will have choices (e.g. what to do, study).


Learns and uses students’ names.


Helps students assume responsibilities and complete tasks, thereby empowering them in their learning.


Communicates clearly with an instructive vocabulary orally and visually.


Establishes and maintains clearly understood classroom procedures, expectations, and boundaries.


Helps students organize their learning (e.g. creating an outline, setting goals).


Provides clear definitions.


Provides clear directions, orally and visually, and motivates students to participate.


Helps students identify time and resource constraints.


Provides for frequent summary reviews and generalizations, often with the use of student self-assessment of their learning.


Attends to the organization of the learning environment to establish a positive, safe, and efficient environment for all student learning (e.g. not allowing student put downs, assuring all have opportunities to learn, have appropriate materials and distributes materials in an appropriate manner).


Structures and facilitates ongoing formal and informal discussion that focuses on the purposes of the activity.


2. Accepting Instructional Accountability: Holds students accountable for their learning and is willing to accept the responsibility for learning outcomes.


Attends to students’ questions, discussions, and other communications.


Provides opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning, to refine and explore their questions, and to share their thinking and results (e.g. pair share, cooperative groups, students challenge and correct other students, requires students to provide objective evidence to support conclusions).


Communicates to students that they all will be called upon to demonstrate their learning (e.g. has all students contribute, all students share results of their work, uses a method of random selection of students, asks all students if they agree or disagree).


Plans exploratory activities that engage students in learning (e.g. anticipatory set, has students predict, reviews, motivates students)


Provides continuous support for desired learning behaviors (e.g. scaffolding, social skills, goal setting, processes, metacognition, positive dispositions).


Provides feedback based on desired performance.


Communicates to students that accomplishment of learning goals is a responsibility they share with the teacher.


Holds high expectations for all students to participate and learn. (e.g. asks students to repeat, asks for multiple responses, asks if all hear, calls on students by name to focus attention, uses thumbs up.., choral response, teacher asks students to show me...).


Establishes a clearly understood and continuous program of assessment (e.g. diagnostic, formative, summative, and generative and).


Assumes responsibility for decisions making and risk taking with the students.


3. Demonstrates Withitness, Pacing, and Overlapping: Is able to intervene and redirect potentially undesirable student behavior and attend to several matters simultaneously.


Attends to the entire class while working with one student or with a small group of students (e.g. communicate awareness with hand gestures, body language, verbal cues in a positive way).


Reinforces or shifts activities for a student whose attention begins to fade.


Dwells on one topic only as long as necessary for the students’ understanding.


Continually and simultaneously monitors all classroom activities to keep students on task and provide them assistance and resources (e.g. moves about room, positions self to see all, aware of what is happening).


Demonstrates an understanding of when to assess.


Continues monitoring the class during any distraction, such as when a visitor enters the classroom.


4. Provides a Variety of Motivational, Challenging Activities: Uses a variety of activities that motivate and challenge all students to work to the utmost of their abilities.


Shows pride, optimism, and enthusiasm in learning, thinking, and teaching.


Allows students to discover and solve problems to increase their intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy (e.g. doesn’t tell answers when students can, provides learning experiences beyond directed instruction).


Demonstrates the expectation that each student can work to the best of his or her ability.


Demonstrates optimism toward each students’ ability (e.g. persists until students are successful).


When appropriate, provides exciting and interesting activities with the students (e.g. concrete activities, students use materials, applicable to real life, problems that challenge, social interactions of students).


Paces activities so they move along smoothly and briskly.


When appropriate, provides activities that take advantage of the students’ natural interests.


When appropriate provides students interactions for social learning.


When appropriate provides students with choices.


5. Models Appropriate Behaviors: Uses behaviors that are expected of the students and that are consistent with the behaviors related to effective learning.


Models behaviors expected of students (e.g. lowers voice volume for size of group, listens to other students, drinks pop or coffee at appropriate times).


Models and emphasizes the skills, attitudes, and values of inquiry.


Models self control, patience, and how to resolve conflict with win/win solutions.


Demonstrates rational problem-solving and explains to students the processes used by the teacher when he or she solves a problem. (e.g. thinks aloud while solving a problem, uses visualize, outlines, and other organizational structures).


Demonstrates that making "errors" is a natural event during problem solving and readily admits and corrects her or his mistakes.


Models higher order intellectual processes.


Thinks aloud while reading to students.


Is prompt in returning student work and offers comments that provide feedback and feedforward.


Models moments of silence for thoughtfulness, reflectiveness, and restraint of impulsiveness.


Provides concrete evidence to support his or her tentative conclusions.


Shows respect for all students (e.g. listens, lowers body to be at student’s eye level, leans forward, and is polite).


Uses "I" when "I" is meant, "we" when "we" is meant (e.g. I feel upset, I need your attention).


Uses communication that is logical, meaningful, clear and to the point.


Spells correctly, uses proper grammar, and writes clearly and legibly.


Does not interrupt when a student is showing rational thinking, even though the teacher may disagree with the direction of the student’s thinking (does not mean that the students’ conclusion will automatically be accepted).


Turns out the lights upon leaving the room.


6. Facilitates Student Learning: Insures that information is accessible to students as input they can process to achieve the learning outcomes.


Provides clear and specific instructions in a timely manner to develop independence.


Allows for the adequate development of the concept(s) (e.g. listening, manipulating, writing, talking, and availability of ideas).


Creates a responsive classroom environment with most students actively involved (e.g. questioning strategies, pacing, using students’ ideas, active listening).


Provides concrete learning experiences (e.g. students manipulate objects to learn and demonstrate their understanding).


Students are used as resources (e.g. Cooperative learning to use students as resources, uses students ideas and products).


Uses other teachers and community members as resources.


Assures sources of information are readily available for student use.


Equipment and materials are readily available to facilitate learning.


Uses instructional strategies to help students make connections between what is being learned and what they already know (brainstorm, KWL POE, charts, review).


Provides feedback and feedforward about children’s performances and progresses through diagnostic, formative, summative, and generative assessment.


Encourages students to organize and maintain their own devices to monitor their progress in learning and thinking (e.g. goal setting, goal checking, time maintenance).


Uses visuals to focus students’ attention and as an aid to understanding.


Catches students up if they are tardy or return from a special class.


Students want to think and solve problems.


7. Creates a Psychologically Safe Environment: Encourages a positive development of student self-esteem, provides psychologically safe learning environment, encourages creative thought and behavior, and offers appropriate nonevaluative and nonjudgmental responses.


Uses positive statements and smiles (e.g. avoids the use of sarcasm and criticism, accepts tardy students by simply catching them up and moving on, waits for students attention before beginning).


Creates a risk free environment (e.g. regards mistakes as learning experiences, allows students to pass).


Uses strong praise infrequently and privately or praises the entire class.


Uses specific praise privately with student(s) and without dramatizing.


Frequently uses minimal reinforcement (nodding of head, writing student’s response, or saying I understand).


Students ask and answer questions freely.


Has students repeat their answers as necessary (doesn’t repeat students’ answers).


Uses paraphrasing and reflective listening if needed.


Uses empathic acceptance of a student’s mood or expression of feelings.


Lessons include times for students to show respect for the experiences and ideas of individual students (e.g. uses student's ideas, has students honor groups).


Uses nonverbal cues to show awareness and acceptance of individual students.


Writes reinforcing, personalized comments on students’ papers.


Provides positive individual student attention as often as possible (e.g. get at eye level, lower voice volume, talk privately, relate ideas to students’ life).


Empowers students (e.g. uses students’ ideas, lets students write on the board, pass-out materials, moves to the back of the room during student demonstrations, gives student choices, allows students to clean-up their own messes. lets students repeat their answers).


Accepts responsibility for student errors.


Provides logical incentives and rewards for student accomplishments rather than praise and tangible reinforcers.


Provides opportunities to all students without bias.


8. Clarifies Whenever Necessary: Seeks further elaboration from students about the students’ ideas or comprehension of ideas.


Provides frequent opportunity for summary reviews and self-assessment of the learning (e.g. questioning strategies, check for understanding, thumbs up/down, multiple responses, probes the depth of students' understanding).


Provides students opportunities to communicate detailed explanations of ideas concretely with manipulatives, semi-concretely with visuals, and symbolically.


Has students discuss until all students have an understanding of the information. (e.g. has students repeat, paraphrase, teacher may paraphrase to see if students recognize any misunderstandings).


Helps students to connect new content to that previously learned.


Helps students relate the content to their other school and nonschool experiences.


Selects instructional strategies that help students correct their misconceptions (diagnose what students know, provide disequilibration, allow students to communicate what they learned in a variety of ways, and assess for generalization).


9. Uses Periods of Silence: Effectively uses periods of silence.


Pauses for thinking and reflection while talking.


Uses waits time of longer than two seconds after asking a question or posing a problem and after a student response.


Uses teacher silence to stimulate group discussion (e.g. keeps silent when students are working quietly, limits teacher talk during student work, and encourages students to listen and question each other during class discussion).


Actively listens when a student is talking (e.g. makes eye contact, leans forward).


Uses teacher silence when students are attending to a visual display.


Uses nonverbal signals to maintain classroom control.


10. Questions Skillfully: Uses thoughtfully worded questions to induce cognitive learning and to stimulate thinking and the development of students’ thinking skills.


Uses a variety of questions, including questions that stimulate divergent thinking as well as those that cause convergent thinking.


Helps students develop their own questioning skills and provides opportunities for students to design plans to find answers to their own questions (e.g. how to ask questions, creatively generate alternative questions, seek answers to questions).


Plans questioning sequences that elicit a variety of thinking skills and that maneuver students to higher levels of cognition.


Uses questions designed to help students to explore their knowledge, to develop new understandings, and to discover ways of applying their new understandings through generalizations.


Encourages student questioning without judging the quality or relevancy of a student’s question.


Attends to student questions and responds often by building on the content of their questions.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©