How to Write English Lesson Plans

How to Write English Lesson Plans

  1. Start with what you want the students to learn. What do you want them to walk away with? What are the learning objectives?
  2. Think about the activity you will be having the children do to help them learn this objective. Will they be using a book? Will they practice by producing something? Complete something?
  3. When you know what the objective and the activity will be think about how you will get the information across. How will you get them to understand the learning? Will you explain in detail using a PowerPoint? Examples? Both?
  4. Think about the starter, you need to get them warmed up and in the right frame of mind to learn. A warm-up activity which will increase confidence and set the tone for the learning
  5. Consider how you will end the lesson. The plenary is a chance to consolidate the knowledge and give the kids a chance to show how well they understood.
  6. Write out each part of the lesson in an easy-to-follow and understandable way.

Let’s look at these step-by-step lesson writing in more detail (or if you prefer just to see it in action download my free complete unit of lesson plans on opinion writing here)


What is a learning objective and how do I write one?



The majority of lessons will have a learning objective. This is what the aim of the lesson is. A lot of the time people confuse the learning objective with the learning activity. These are different things. The learning activity is the actual thing the kids will do, for example, a learning activity might be to write about Captain hook’s appearance. This is what the children will be doing but it is not what they are learning from that lesson. You are not teaching them how to write about Captain hook, you might however be teaching them how to write descriptive passages, use adjectives or even how to write a long text. These are the objectives, these are the skills you hope your children will leave the lesson with.


Sometimes the lesson activity and the learning objective are the same or similar but it is important to keep in mind that the skill you are teaching the children is not just related to the singular activity they are doing. An example of this would be if you were teaching the children how to bake a cake and you baked a cake as the activity. You can see how they would be the same but the baking of the cake and the skill of baking the cake are different things in terms of your planning.

So why is this important?

When planning you need to make sure that all decisions relate back to your learning objective. If parts of your lesson do not benefit your learning objective then you have no need to include them.

When writing your objectives try to think about the skills you would like your class to learn and not just the things you would like them to do during the lesson.

How do I choose an activity for the lesson?

This is where you get to have fun! The activities that you choose for the students to do need to give them a chance to develop the skills they are learning (which come from the learning objective). If you have a topic it can be a good idea to choose activities which relate to that topic. Sometimes I just like to choose something fun. For example, when teaching a learning objective to write instructions, I chose a lesson on dragons. The children will imagine how to train their dragon and then write detailed instructions to explain how to do it. This type of activity is fun and engaging.

When you are choosing your lesson activities you need to think about how the class will interact with the learning and how the activity fits in with the learning objective. It is very easy to think that you would like your class to create a scale model of a Victorian house for example, but you need to be aware of how (or even if) it supports the learning.

What are good lesson starters?

Lesson starters should not be skipped! The children move from one subject to another so quickly that it can be difficult for them to shift their thinking. A lesson starter moves them into the right position to learn.

Good starters are not too easy but will challenge them to start thinking about the subject they are about to learn. Use discussion topics, quick-fire questions or simple paired work to get the class warmed up to the topic and ready for the main lesson.

It is a nice idea to plan your starter with the end of the lesson in mind. Give the children a task (not too complex) and have them give suggested answers. This works well in pairs to encourage them to try without worrying about being correct. At the end of the lesson, you can circle back to the starter and see how their answers have changed or improved.

A nice example of this is having a short text for the children to improve. Work on the text as a class and make improvements. After the lesson when they have learnt about editing or text improvements, have them again edit the text and see how much they have learnt.



What are good lesson plenaries?

As mentioned above plenaries are to consolidate and demonstrate the learning that has taken place in the lesson. Good plenaries give the children a chance to show to you and themselves that the learning was understood and can now be applied.

Some examples of plenaries include the 'circling back' to the starter as mentioned above. You can also use exit tickets, which are quick questions related to the learning in the lesson. Short fun games are nice plenaries if you have time and often work well at the end of the day.

How do I write an English lesson plan?

The answer to this question will depend a great deal on your school, your level of experience and the complexity of the lesson. A full lesson plan for a single lesson can be two or more pages long, or you can plan the same lesson on a post-it. If your school requires full lesson plans (which they shouldn’t they should trust your judgement – but that is another issue) you can write them up in detail, in other situations it can be enough to know the learning objective and how you plan to teach it.

Write out your objectives, plan the questions you will use to help the children understand and practice the objectives. Next, describe the activity they will be completing along with reference to how it supports the learning. Plan out your starters and plenaries after the main lesson planning to ensure they fit with the overall learning.

What is an example of an English lesson plan?



I write two different types of lesson plans. For one-off lessons or observations etc. I use a long-form lesson plan which details how the lesson will progress and the ways the children will be assessed. For an example of this, download my free lesson on character descriptions here. This lesson plan is long and detailed and not something that you would be expected to write for every lesson.

The other type of lesson plan is the unit-long plan. These plans cover many weeks of lessons and are written all together to demonstrate how they progress and flow after each lesson into the next. For an example of how I plan my unit lessons download my free Opinion Unit Lesson Plans here. As you can see in these lessons, there is still a lot of detail but each individual lesson has less detail. This is also because the lessons have similar assessment goals and other parts which would just be repeated for each lesson if written individually.

The full unit of plans and resources for this opinion pack is also available here.

What resources are available?

I have many resources in my store to help you plan out and prep your English lessons. If you would like your planning to be pre-prepared just check out my English resources here.


Check out my free resources and classroom activities here 


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1 comment

Very useful especially advice on the distinction between learning activates and outcomes. Alos, I agree lesson starters are a must!


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