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About the Lesson Planner

Writing Lesson Plans

The Lesson Planer is a tool that adult educators can use to create effective lesson plans and, thereby, improve the quality of instruction delivered to adult students. According to a publication by the Southern Regional Education Board (Planning for Improved Student Achievement: Ten Steps for Planning and Writing Standards-Based Units), “Planning standards-based lessons and units takes time, but can result in engaging, grade-level instruction and improved student achievement” (for the complete document, visit What better reason is there to spend time developing effective lesson plans that the promise of improving student achievement?

New and experienced teachers alike will find this online Lesson Planner a handy tool; it adapts Madeline Hunter’s Mastery Teaching (1982) through the use of the *WIPPEA model of lesson planning, and then connects it to the concept of backward design, as introduced by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in Understanding by Design (1992). This model for lesson planning helps adult education teachers create a smooth instructional flow and scaffold learning in small chunks. The lesson planning model represents a continuous teaching cycle in which each learning concept builds on the previous one, thereby serving as an instructional roadmap for teachers. Using principles of backward design, teachers plan lessons beginning with the end in mind, targeting instruction both to the lesson objective and the evaluation of mastery of the objective. The teacher asks-and answers-the following questions at the beginning of lesson preparation:

  • How will I expect students to demonstrate understanding or mastery of this objective?
  • What type of evaluation activity will best assess students' ability to learn and apply their new knowledge?

With the evaluation activity decided and clearly stated at the beginning of the lesson, the teacher and students have a clear understanding of where instruction is headed. The teacher then designs the lesson activities, following the WIPPEA stages, always keeping the end in mind as the lesson progresses through each stage.

The WIPPEA model and the backward design process together provide a structure for developing student-centered lessons. This model uses a sequence of activities to teach one objective at a time. The teacher will not always be able to complete each lesson plan in one class period; sometimes two or three class periods are necessary before students demonstrate mastery of an objective. When the teacher has internalized the steps in the WIPPEA planning process as well as the use of backward design, lesson planning becomes a quick, easy process.

See more about effective lesson planning in the TEAL Fact Sheet.

* The acronym WIPPEA represents the first letter of each stage in the lesson planning model: Warm-up, Introduction, Presentation, Practice, Evaluation, Application. The model is based on the work from Madeline Hunter from her text, Mastery Teaching (1982), and adapted by the ESL Teacher Institute, Lesson Planning Module, then published by Longman, Teacher Training Through Video, 1992.

Much of the information and functionality on this site has been adapted from three sources:

  • The TEAL Lesson Planner through American Institutes for Research (Contract No. ED-VAE-09-O-0060),
  • The OTAN Online Lesson Plan Builder, and
  • The CALPRO module, Effective Lesson Planning (2005), authored by Sue Pon and Karen Barroso with contributions by Mary Ann Corley.

We are indebted to the TEAL team at AIR, led by Mary Ann Corley, technology lead, Kip Thomson; OTAN Director, Marian Thacher for graciously consenting to our following the design of the OTAN Lesson Plan Builder and adapting it for use in TEAL and LINCS.