• What You Need to Know About Writing Lesson Plans

    You do want to get into this particular field, writers. Writing lesson plans and courses for virtual schools, universities, districts and state departments presents you with the opportunity to shape the relay of information, to practice communicating with different audiences, and to scale your copy up or down depending on student needs. That is, it allows a writer to practice their craft in  unique and valuable way.

    I just finished a multi-month contract in which I developed two courses for a client. Throughout the  project I took a few notes that I wanted to share with fellow writers and with potential clients about some best practices when it comes to writing lesson plans.

    • Writing lesson plans requires an identification with the audience. As I wrote instructions, I had specific past students in mind.
    • This led to the use of active words for the text, just as I always use active words in  my lectures. These grab the students’ attention. They are accustomed to listening for these trigger words that mean that I, as the teacher, am requiring something of them.
    • It also helped me to keep scenarios and instructions general enough to pertain to different students. Or, if these items could not be made general, having past students in my head as an example helped me to make sure that the scenarios or instructions I wrote were relevant and applicable to different populations.
    • I was often able to actively practice being welcoming to and inclusive of many different types of students. Being the mother of two children who identify heavily as Latino, I know they treasure school work and books that reflect them. Being the teacher of some absolutely amazing students of different backgrounds, I know that I want them to understand that someone out there somewhere treasures them and seeks to understand their experience as best as possible- even a little. In that vein, I was able to write in ways that reflected many different kinds of student situations. For example, I was careful when writing “parents,” often substituting it for “family members.” In writing scenarios, I was careful to use many different kinds of names that hopefully reflected the variety of ethnicity and gender that the future students will come from.
    • This project allowed writers to refer to resources that we chose ourselves. This means that I was able to practice and demonstrate to students what kind of resources are trustworthy and worthwhile to them. In past classes, I’ve repeatedly admonished students to choose well when it comes to online research. This project allowed me to practice what I preach- that is, to serve as an example and to show the many incredible resources available “out there.”

    Writing lesson plans is a great outlet for writers who have the K-12 background and practice knowledge. As I noted above, you can draw on past teaching experiences, but the medium- writing lessons “blind”- has it’s own challenges. Use my hints to give your client the best copy possible! And clients, be sure that any writer you hire understands these concepts. Your future students stand to benefit!

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